My hair is getting weird
There’s a long tuft on top which just showed up.
If it wasn’t for this fucking virus
I would go to the salon
For a styling
But here I am stuck in my house
Looking mournfully into the mirror
With an electric clipper in my hand
The one my husband uses every few weeks or so
For his buzz cut
My hair is thin anyway
I can see my scalp peeking through in places
An aging thing I guess
A buzz cut would be youthful.
I am such an optimist.
I have learned caution
Nowadays I look both ways before crossing the street
Instead of flying willy nilly into traffic
Like I used to do.
You can only get run over so many times
Until you wise up
I guess I learned caution
The hard way
Only after years of making choices
So random they hardly
Etched themselves on my consciousness
And crossing the street in front of oncoming cars
Was what I did
Okay, I’m not laughing
I am sick of being by myself, also
Maybe sick of myself.
Even in the best of times
Which this is not
As they say
Limited existential resiliency.
So when I
Polish my nails
Scour the cupboards
Examine in minute detail my wrinkles
And gray hair
Either I go out or alternatively
Man up and
Abide by myself
I tentatively conclude that being sick of myself is
Better than being sick.
At least so far.
I do remember however
When I was a girl
I wanted to sleep with a man who confessed he had the clap
I told him I didn’t care
So we made love
I got the clap.
When I was 16 and an artist
I would dress in black
And take the subway
From the Bronx to Greenwich Village
To hang out.
I carried a sketchbook and
Rapidograph pen and drew
Fellow passengers on the long ride downtown.
One Saturday as I was walking on Bleeker Street
Holding my sketchbook
This man caught up to me.
He told me
In a French accent
That he had been following me for blocks
Because I had such a lovely behind.
He said he was a diplomat from Haiti working at the United Nations
And took out his wallet to show me a foreign paper
Which he said proved it.
His name was Louis and he was 32.
We went to his apartment arm in arm
And I discarded my black turtleneck sweater
And black corduroy pants
On the floor
And the experience was positively
When I read the
Reader’s Digest cover to cover
And all the books on our shelves at home
Peyton Place My Three Prisoners Van Loon’s Geography
And many more
My mother frowned.
When I read the Saturday Evening Post and
Cereal boxes at the kitchen table
Little Lulu and the Classics.
Three newspapers a day
My mother said
It’s a good thing she’s smart
Because she’s not pretty.
I had a library card.
In the third grade I was fitted for glasses
So I could see the blackboard
And the page.
I read my childhood away
Sorry not sorry.
I am dissatisfied with myself
Petty, fat, ungraceful, soon to be dead
And lightly mourned.
I used to want a big celebration when I died
With four white horses prancing down Main Street
An obelisk and marble urns
Wreaths of flowers and sobbing mourners
And the only reason I now reject
Such a grand deathmarch funeral
And instead choose to ghost my way out of life
Is my fear that
Nobody will come to say goodbye, or worse
People will eat the canapés and leave
Before the speeches, all of which were
Pre-recorded for the occasion.
When Katy was a baby
And we lived on the Upper West Side
She wore a bonnet
And a pink hand-knitted outfit.
I wheeled her up Broadway
In a pram built like a cruise ship
That had a convertible top if it rained.
Sometimes I walked with my mother.
We took turns pushing the carriage
Smiling at the baby while she
Sat wobbly on
Satin cushions and
Played with a teething ring.
We were good walkers, my mother and I
And Katy traveled in style with us
Looking in all the storefront windows.