Image by Amanda Chisholm
I walk down Strawberry Street
midnight after a party, two friends
as bookends. We're headed to my house,
stumbling across cracks, for another drink
laughing loud until we see someone.
She stares at street signs at a loss.
She calls to us: Help. I'm lost--
I need a taxi. Where? What street?
Two two seven six one, two two seven six one
she slurs I lost my friends.
She must have had too much to drink.
I understand the confusion. My house
beckons with soft bed to house
my head and dream. The woman, lost,
says the number again and drinks
air in gulps. Just digits, still no street.
I want to help her but my friends
look uneasy. She's adamant: Can you call someone?
Please, help me, two two seven six one.
My friend calls a cab, asks her: Where's your house?
while the phone's at his ear. It's my friend's
place, Fredericksburg. My god, she has lost
her mind, that's an hour away and the street
is empty except for us, we all sound drunk,
so the cab company hangs up. No drink
has done this to her-- twotwosevensixone
twotwosevensixone she says nothing else as if streets
could change with her chants. The houses
around us do not care. I am sorry for her loss
whatever it was and ask my friend
if we should we call 911? No! My friends
just left. I just need to go. Five drinks
in and clueless, I stare at her loss
of balance, she sways in rhythm twotwosevensixone.
I ought not bring this stranger home
but we can't abandon her in the street.
I glance away for a moment and our friend is gone
she’s drunk on the number, running by houses
down the block, soon lost in the darkening street.