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Lowell Jaeger

She Tells Herself: This Is It

I glance at him

across the room.

He’s keeping an eye on me.

I ask him to dance,

but the jukebox plays

only songs we don’t know.

This takes all the courage I could drink

and not fall down.

I’d never done that before.


Back at my place I wake

with the radio sputtering in candlelight.

His sour breath and mine.

I snuff the candle,

snuggle in for more.


I’d never done that before.



Next morning these same dull walls

echo my wooden heels

as if I’d lost myself

in an empty hall.


Too much window.  Too much

bed.  One more chair

than I need on my own.


Sit at the window and stare.

Wait for the phone.

Breakfast of coffee and toast.

Me and my ghost.



Then he’s back, halfway

froze.  Car doors won’t close.

I unlace his sneakers,

rub his toes.  Fix

hot whiskey and honey.

He blows his nose.


I peel his socks,

shirt, tie.  


Sunrise, I help him

find his shoes.  Fold and pack

his clothes.  All that week

it snows.


Here he comes.

There he goes.

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