Image by Louise Dickinson-Brown
By Lewis Turco
Outside the door, the noises of the sleugh.
indoors, the tropic heat, the potted ferns,
a palm stuck in the corner near the couch.
She waits and picks at lint. Her fingers run
through her hair. "It's nerves, just nerves," she says,
but still she listens.
And then the sudden knock.
The potted palm sweats. Its leaves ripple.
She cannot speak. Then — "Yes, who is it?" She
gets up and smooths her skirt. Another knock.
She goes toward the door. The mirror there
beside the clock shows her what she must see:
a plain young woman with faded eyes, her hair
a neutral shade. "What does he want with me?"
she tells the glass.
"Who's there?" she asks again.
"I've come," he says. She reaches for the knob.
Her palms are sweating: they slip as her fingers turn.
She pauses — pulls.
He stands there on the stoop,
his eyes too bright and blank. His puffy skin
is white as mallow in the dimming light.
He has no hair. His body is too stiff.
His mouth gapes as he looks at her. She starts,
but catches herself. His hat is in one hand;
the other goes to his tie. He clears his throat.
"We'd better hurry," she says, "or we'll be late."
She turns off the light, picks up her coat, her purse,
and moves toward the door. He stands aside,
closes the door, and follows her into the night.
From an unpublished manuscript, A Book of Beasts, poems by Lewis Turco, illustrations by Louise Dickinson-Brown; the poems may be found in Fearful Pleasures: The Complete Poems of Lewis Turco 1959-2007, Scottsdale, AZ: www.StarCloudPress.com, 2007. ISBN 978-1-932842-19-7, cloth; ISBN 978-1-932842-20-3, paper. Also available in a Kindle edition.