by Albert G Daviou
I am Selfina. I have been described by some with words from the Hebrew poet of love, Solomon; I am black and beautiful, though I am the lover of no king. My room is above a brothel from which I sometimes profit; not that I perform there, but the workingwomen are my friends; for them I run an occasional errand, get a pack of Slims, a quick bite, less occasionally pick up a score, man or meth. I am not destitute; I do not need their money, but it is better for them to pay for the little services than for them to feel beholden. Even hookers have souls.
This is where I choose to live, here in what some call the ghetto surrounded by these workingwomen who are my friends. It is my home though I am black, beautiful, and not poor.
Across the alley is a wall of a small room that rises from the back of an abandoned warehouse. I do not know what is in the room—a stairway or elevator leading to the roof? I live there because of the apparition that appears on the wall at dawn, the countenance of a woman just beneath the power lines. She is not a workingwoman. She appears to them, the Virgin. Often shortly after dawn, one or two of my friends come to my room for coffee and there we say our prayers to the Virgin that we would be blessed and protected by her. Hookers have souls.