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2 poems by Heather Gluck

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


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