Do Say A Few Nice Things About People’s Homes When You Visit

 

The place is new,

built from the ground up,

big wide rooms, newly painted

a few pictures freshly hung.

There’s no stray hair in the bathroom

or scuff marks on the linoleum.

 

I stand awkwardly, shifting from foot to foot,

following from room to room,

the beer bottle in my hand

quickly emptied

now starting to sweat.

 

Look, the closet, she says,

and we walk in,

clothes tumbling off hangers

and piling on the floor.

 

All this space, she says

and I still don’t have enough room.

 

I smile and nod, I try to think of something nice to say.

 

And this, she tells me, will be the baby’s room.

She sighs. Eventually, she tells me.

 

Soon, I tell her, to say something helpful.

 

Please she says, a baby is the least I’ll get out of that sonofabitch.

You don’t know what it’s like, she says, turning to look at me.

Living with him.

 

Come downstairs, she says with a wide smile,

I’ll show you the holes he punched in the basement walls.

 

 

Not to Be Happy Is Not Just a Misfortune, It Is a Failure

 

Smile,

the man

on the subway tells me.

Pretty girl like you,

what you got

not

to be

smiling about?

 

It’s the least

you can do, he tells me,

For the rest of us.

 

 

 

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