by Patty Seyburn
Mark lived with a closet pornographer
and if we returned from Caramba’s too
soon, bottles of baby oil would be placed
strategically around the apartment
near gestures of drapery, gauzing
the lights. I lived with an eternal temp
and would-be dancer who dated a kind
taxi-driver named Sam beneath children
who ran the length of their railroad flat
back, forth, with squalls and loud silences.
I went up to see what was what and was
hypnotized by roaches zigzagging walls
with fractured apologies. Dimitri
yelled at me for being a do-gooder,
hurling statistics while doing his own
brand of damage to his lean body.
From the third floor I heard windshields
smashed with a tire-iron, one after
another and knew the sound from TV
shows before reality was in.
On the No. 6 local a man gently
held my ass but I figured it could be
worse while an elderly woman said
in an old country monotone,
they’re fixing the track, and her friend agreed.
I wore the striped dress-shirt of a man
who asked me to watch his apartment and
feed his fish, which I slew through neglect
and in his front pocket he found my ticket
to Area where I’d lounged near a tank
that held a baby shark, not long before
my friend ripped the lining from his
former lover’s leather jacket, seeing it
supine upon a strange bed. When we
called those we loved on the other
coast, it was early, 11 p.m. their time
and we must have sounded very happy.