The Empress of Shave Ice

She stands alone, a little hunched, a bump slowly reshaping her back,
this empress of her mom and pop shave ice palace.
She chews betel nut with dark red-brown teeth, some missing,
leaving deep dark gaps between worn black stumps.
She grinds the ice with a blade that could cut a throat with ease,
hand-cranked, not electric, her sleeves rolled up past her elbows
as she leans and spits into a can on the counter behind the various colored syrups.
She’s a no waste any kine time kind of woman,
Kowloon-born to come and grow the business she
and her deceased husband started from scratch.
She’s always dusting the glass cases that hold candy bars and crack seed,
the air always tinged with the smell of Pine-Sol from constant mopping.
While she works, I watch a small shaft of sunlight
peak through the wooded slats at the top of the wall near the roof,
a golden beam for her hair to celebrate the beauty she may have once been
before all the hard labor, the perfecting of her shave ice,
cone after cone, spoon after spoon of azuki beans,
and scooping ice cream with sinewy arms,
tough as piano wire, knotted into muscular lines,
a face like leather that maybe once was kind,
my one and only empress of shave ice.

* * * * *

Today’s #WritersPrompt is

royalty

Use it to inspire a piece of #ThursdayWriting, and then post that piece as a comment below. I wold love to read it : )

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