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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