Welcome back to Poetry Monday. Hope your weekend was restorative. Here is your poem to get your week off to (hopefully) a good start. Be well, stay safe.
We used to live next to a hoarding crazy lady
who dispatched roach emissaries under our door
with demands from their queen.
The systematic execution of her messengers
didn’t discourage occasional personal appearances.
You’d open the door and she’d edge in,
ask if our heat was working,
linger nervously like a hungry, beaten cat,
clothes and skin monochrome nicotine stain tones
though I don’t think she smoked,
just a penchant for dirty tan fabrics and some jaundice.
You felt sorry for her,
and so did I of course,
secondary to my fears
that she threatened hassles, involvements
in which your tender, provincial trust
might ensnare us.
“I’m naked! I’m naked!” she screamed
as the cops drilled out her locks
to serve the springtime eviction notice.
We felt bad for her.
It had been a decade since I’d thought of her
when I saw her on the street in our new neighborhood,
a wax figure sameness about her.
I realized she’d died for me back then
in some 19th century way, drowning in the city,
but this is France, maybe she got some help,
or maybe she just kept going, like people do,
even the ones I ignore.
I averted my eyes, though I felt
a few singular moments of passive cruelty
hadn’t marked her enough to recognize me,
would be lost among the shattering of marks
I imagined she bore under that waxy skin.
We crossed without remark
and I replaced the thinness of regret
for actions I’d repeat
with thoughts of dinner.