lunch and fishnets by Puma Perl

we always take the window seat in Odessa’s
crusty kids panhandle on Avenue A, receiving
change only from those born poor, and able
to recall aging runaway children, arthritic
from frozen nights and broken bones unset,
brains addled by cheap wine and bad drugs,

his camera hangs from his neck and he eats
cold borscht, Gus the waiter screws up again
and my food comes later (don’t worry, he said,
i’ve got this – as if i were concerned), the sun
plays with old leather, and i remember why
i left, though not why i began, as we look
at photographs of bikes and tattoos, plan
another road trip, both dreaming of escape
although not with one another, it’ll be better,
he says, i’ll let you drive this time…

we walk down Clinton, i buy fishnet stockings,
he knows they’re not for him, we drop hints
of discontent with partners and liaisons,
we have taken ourselves where we go,
i still never care much and he still obsesses
about mind control and harleys, he hugs
me good-bye with one arm, the other clutches
his camera, i wander home thinking about
my new fishnet stockings, and whether
i’ll be able to get the seams perfectly straight..

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This poem brings back memories of odd, beautiful years in NYC. It reads as if Queen Elizabeth I's favorite court painter of miniatures, Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619) borrowed Weegee's (1899-1968) camera and snapped a few shots. The clarity and detail hooked me. When I read that the fish-net stockings were not meant for "him," I knew you did not mean he was a transvestite craving your fish-nets...but, it made me smile. Thanks for the poem. Joseph Hargraves


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