“Her Every No” by David Petruzelli

David Petruzelli


Maybe it’s easier to buy new clothes
rather than wash the old,

to let her boyfriend entertain himself
while she dozes on the couch all afternoon,

and now he wanders through each room,
pausing to view the cartons of old take-outs

and retrieve her underwear—all yellows
and pale blues—folding them, starting to remember.

Afterwards he sits down with that book
on ballet—once a favorite of hers

and now, it seems, of his, if only
for the black & white photos of young girls

or the endpapers marbled by hand in Paris,
and which he touches now

as if nothing found on her floor could compare.
But at five he says, “I’ll call you later,”

and even though he’s standing over her
she’ll remember his voice

as coming from the hall; her eyes closing
forgo the door’s rough kiss. She touches her face,

remembers the feel of his hand,
and that earlier she said please come over;

that she had really said please;
that he brushed one cheek as if checking for dust.

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003
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