Twenty-one

I bought some tobacco
from the Upper Saddle River
and I’m smoking it as my bath fills

we’re going to a week-end party in Germantown
and I’ve been trying to telephone her mother
for the number of an eye-doctor

her face is out beyond her cheekbone
far enough swollen
to make wearing the little black dress impossible

“I’ll borrow a silk two-piece from my mother
wearing this dress without eye make-up would be ridiculous”
she said

I’ve been getting the busy signal
thinking about the double-breasted suit she’s bought me
and about collecting it from Bonds before they close tonight

I’ve been trying to guess if the circles beneath my eyes
are better than they were yesterday
if they’re somewhat less red

I’ve got vanity and coffee
sitting in my shorts
with a plumber at the window.

[1993] 

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