What if?

A poem in my Dorian Gray series.  I had pondered this part of the mythology while working on my MFA but this prompt brought it to the front of my mind.  Merrill is posting today on dVerse Poets Pub. She asks us to ponder time and what if? For once in this series, Dorian shows some mercy.

What if?
Whitechapel.
The killer had already murdered four women.
A prostitute reached out her scabrous hand to me
and I thought of pushing it away
until I looked in her face.
She was in her 40’s and long past the age of attraction.
Her teeth were black or missing
and she bared her limp breasts for me to see.
What if I pitied her?
What if I just gave her a few shillings?
She would spend it on gin ‘ot instead of
buying a bed for the night.
She would sleep on the street –
A bundle of dirty rags.
What if I just gave her money?
Would it take some of the ugly from my portrait?
Would it roll back to when the portrait was
my current face – young and beautiful?
I pulled out a pound note and put it in her hands.
I told her to go in peace.
She stumbled to the tavern on the corner.
What if she passed out there?
Would she be robbed?
Would the bartender throw her out?
Doesn’t matter.
For once I did something good.
Would it show in my portrait?
I read the next day in the papers
Mary Kelly had been brutally murdered –
Eviscerated, flayed.
I looked at my portrait.
The what if didn’t work.
My portrait was still as old and ugly
as the prostie I gave money to.
What if?
What if?

Whitechapel – 1890

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