She’s naked yet wearing shoes.
Wants to think nude. And happy in her body.
Though it’s a fleshy aging body. And her posture
in the chair—leaning forward, arms on knees,
staring out the window—makes her belly bulge,
but what the hell.
What the hell, he isn’t here.
Lived in this damn drab apartment at Third Avenue,
Twenty-third Street, Manhattan, how many
damn years, has to be at least fifteen. Moved to the city
from Hackensack, needing to breathe.
She’d never looked back. Sure they called her selfish,
cruel. What the hell, the use they’d have made of her,
she’d be sucked dry like bone marrow.
First job was file clerk at Trinity Trust. Wasted
three years of her young life waiting
for R.B. to leave his wife and wouldn’t you think
a smart girl like her would know better?
Second job also file clerk but then she’d been promoted
to Mr. Castle’s secretarial staff at Lyman Typewriters. The
least the old bastard could do for her and she’d
have done a lot better except for fat-face Stella Czechi.
Third job, Tvek Realtors & Insurance and she’s
Mr. Tvek’s private secretary: What would I do
without you, my dear one?
As long as Tvek pays her decent. And he doesn’t
let her down like last Christmas, she’d wanted to die.
This damn room she hates. Dim-lit like a region of the soul
into which light doesn’t penetrate. Soft-shabby old furniture
and sagging mattress like those bodies in dreams we feel
but don’t see. But she keeps her bed made
every God-damned day, visitors or not.
He doesn’t like disorder. He’d told her how he’d learned
to make a proper bed in the U.S. Army in 1917.