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The Thirst

Driving through the Walgreens parking lot, I saw the woman sitting under a nearby tree. She was holding a sign and faced the door for when people came out. I could not understand what she said as I walked in but when I came back out, I heard her clearly.

She wailed at me, “Thirrrrssst.”

I remember.

It was what we cried at them as we begged in the streets. Those people back in the old country-when the others tried to starve us, and later when the water ran dry for us all. Each time they watched for people in the village to walk by and then would spit at us or call us cursed. When they laughed at us because they had horses and vardos. They could move on.

And,as she sat there calling to me, I knew what few now recall, including descendants of those people like her–each time one of ours languished or passed away as they denied us any relief.

Yes, I remember.

-Nicole Anstedt