Beehive, blush and a slim
navy skirt, I am precise.
I am hospitality. I am
I hum to babies and to soothe
men troubled by turbulence.
I love hotel beds, and hotel showers.
My black suitcase --
it is an art to pack it,
like Chinese script,
everything in one block.
It scrolls along these long white halls.
I've never wished for more
than could easily fit
in my overhead compartment.
There's more room than you'd expect.
I have measured my life in airline spoons
and found it full.
May I offer you a pillow?
Please direct your attention
to the monitor above the aisle.
This is my favorite film.
The Dancing of the Giglio at Our Lady of Mount Carmel
They did not dance because it was July.
They danced for the Bishop of Nola.
A film lies over the street where the band played,
The tower and its platform slumping high --
Bright turquoise, pink and gold, a quirky palm
Or flamingo lost in Brooklyn.
You Vinnie and you John, vendors of hot sausages,
Your boxing stories bloody by the year.
The giglio* and the boat were marched and dipped.
The brass band played like roosters with sirens.
It's Sunday morning and the dance is over,
The lilies drugged. The sky does not hold rain.
Giglio is the platform and the three-story saint's tower. It is
marched through the street on the broad perspiring backs of very
large men and boys. Its name comes from the Italian word for lily,
a flower which figures significantly in the story of St. Paulinus,
the Bishop of Nola. This festival happens every year in July, right
around the corner from my house in Brooklyn.
Yolanda is not sure what this man wants with her.
I dreamed about you last night. She isn't listening.
She lists her list of names, filling them in.
Pilar, Little Freddy, Octavia, Jefferson.
She sweeps each item over the smoked window,
listens for the digital eep, suspends each box or can,
then lowers it, pushes against it like a paddle through water.
Bright groceries eddy behind her on the aluminum surface
of the lane. Did you know light can now be stopped
in gases. I mean they have learned how to slow it
and stop it. To start it again they send through
another beam you know to nudge the first one on.
Is that what this is, he thinks we are beams, idles Yolanda.
She keeps her list on the register secured with Scotch tape
next to the list of Bad Check Writers.
Do you think this will remove hard water stains in
my jacuzzi? As if I've been standing here waiting
for a man with a hot tub, laughs Yolanda.
Every week you come in here and ask me
these questions, tell me about gases and light,
or the discovery of some painting in a cave
that contains a miracle in the letter H, ask me
the proper pronunciation of some green, lettuce A
or B. I know it's one dollar and eighty-nine cents
a bunch. Don't you have anyone else
you can ask these things?
his change is counted,
his bags collected, he is gone. He'll be back
next week and I'll tell him then, promises Yolanda.
The day of prophecy has come and gone.
It seems our father never did possess
any ecclesiastical spacecraft.
Suppose he had, in his white suit and hat,
arrived. Would we have felt the same surprise
and laughed beneath our hands as we do now?
It takes two years to dissipate the shock
of living in this city, even though
its builders tried to tame it with chill tile.
Its flickering cinema features two films:
The first one treats of progress and its force.
The other is all fiction, mystery.
The soundtracks mingle through the walls. Listen:
Hear the cold, creeping spring,
these ardent, clicking leaves.
poems have appeared in CROWD, Borderlands, elimae,
Café Mo, West Wind Review, and elsewhere. Recent work is
forthcoming in Good Foot and Pindeldyboz. She lives in New
York, where she works as a freelance copywriter and editor.