and dear-john notes: the color is always
the same—off-white, with grime somewhere
between the left wing and Toronto. Rain
washed away wet paint from the park bench.
Up to the end, she blamed the weather.
The classical CDs left in her music box are
pirated copies, some titles smudged with
liquor. I taught her how to drink hard and fast;
we both had the same dance instructor
in school: a Brazilian named Dante
who dated us separately before the 9/11
disaster. There comes a time in everyone’s
life when solitude gapes from the molds
of cheeses in the fridge, sometimes
the shoelace that comes undone in the midst
of a rush-hour crowd. In theaters, Swan Lake
continues to draw lonely people: the costumes
are elaborate, the women entrancing, the water
and fog deliberately fake. She confessed
watching the prince die seventeen-and-a-half
times with another man while I slept in the nude.
The lights were switched off, and I thought
I knew every part of the house by then
without stepping on a loose floorboard.
—from Rattle #24, Winter 2005
Arlene Ang: “I haven’t yet gotten over my love affair with the word ‘bucket.’ This is the reason I write poetry about birds and wet paint signs.” (web)