A Beautiful Woman Walks Down Second Avenue
The rats have their victory
on the street today—I stop beneath
a tin foil sky, and let them pass in lines.
At the salon I ask for flesh-colored nails.
My reflection rolls its shoulders back
in the store windows, tries to align
its curving neck. When I regard myself
my face is totally slack, eyes glare out.
Your mirror face was pursed lips
and a squeezed nose,
comb poised over the brown mustache.
I remember your gaze flicked up
from your wheelchair to my bicep,
to ask if women shave their arms.
Now your toenail is four inches thick,
your eye clouded with cataracts.
If I had to tell you about my mornings—
the bold rats, my muscular
calves, the nail file, the pavement—
I would lie.
On the Drive to the TV Hospital
I think that he used to drive me places:
to ice skating, back home. Flashback
wide angle when he put me on his shoulders,
cut to mid-shot for expressions.
The drama is there but the mood
is all wrong, too muted. Maybe the color
grading. I packed a little bag
with a charger, tinted lip balm, no time
to draw a dark line under my jaw
so the lights don’t wash me out.
I brought a thick book, suspecting,
dead or alive, I won’t see him anyway.
Two ambulances speed by;
sirens are getting louder. A clever choice.
Black tupelos make a wall along the highway.
How weird it will be if he dies, how big.
The sun rises like a tall loaf of bread,
and I can’t tell the difference
between any pink thing.
Heather Gluck is a poet and editor from New York who received her MFA from Columbia University. Her work is published in Palette Poetry, Beyond Words, High Shelf Press, and others. She is the Managing Editor for MAYDAY Magazine and a Nonfiction Editor at Majuscule. See more at heathergluck.com.