She tells him this better be the last one--
the last first love poem he'll write.
The title, she says, needs to be brief,
something any lover can relate to.
Do you want me to leave the room
while you write it?
With one step she's no longer in the
living room, she's in the middle of the
apartment kitchen. There are two bowls,
two spoons in the sink. The bellowing heater
acts as background, smoothing the space
with its hum. She squeezes a drop of soap
into each bowl. Fills both with hot water.
Any lover needs to be able to relate, she says,
but make sure you set it somewhere romantic--
not Paris, Rome, or anything like that--but
next to a body of water. There should be
birds. Clouds and rain. Not sunshine. Don't
She works the bowls over with a dishrag.
Dinner, breakfast--whatever you want to call it--was good, she says.
She dries the bowls, places them in the cabinet.
Have you written a line yet?
Can I read it?
When I wake up?
When you wake up.
With a hand to each side of his face,
she denotes the spots he missed shaving
with her index fingers. Here, she says.
The lines run from the corners of his eyes
as he smiles. Now she marks these.
She kisses him; she doesn't say, I love you.
Wake me up before you go to work, okay?
With one step she's in the bedroom.
The bed's a couch.
She pulls the quilt up to her chin.
Her body curls.
She says, Hang out with me in
Wouldn't miss it.
A few minutes later her breath
goes steady, falling in line with
The sun starts seeping in through
the blinds. The loose strands of
her hair become gold. He draws
the curtains so the light does not
wake her. She, he types.
In an apartment where once was one--
one toothbrush, one set of sneakers
by the door--now there are two.
Everything paired off and content in
Is a woman, he types. He hits the delete key once.
Then he types N again.
Her makeup bag is on the dining table.
Islands of stray powder dot the bag.
Her brush is on the coffee table
next to the couch. Countless
numbers of hairpins are embedded in the carpet.
I can't make it in today, he says into the receiver.
Yeah, not feeling too good. Thank you, sir. Will do.
Alright. Yeah, you too.
When he presses in beside her, she says, I've been awake
the whole time.
Have too. Did you finish it?
Can I read it?
After you actually get some sleep.
What'd you call it?
Is a Woman.
I like that.