The Pink Lady’s Power

The pink lady guards the window, her back
warmed. Sun falls from south by southeast. Machines
churn before her. Dryer sheets paint the air.
She nods. You’d think she slept. Her silence means
that she sees every flawed garment drop in
powered tubs. She glances at faces. Disturbed hair
shelters guarded eyes. She rests. Warm. Unseen,
seeing address labels like priests read sins.
That next, solo washer thinks she’s a sculpture
and you—you’re sure she’s a lost aunt—a mean
one, who never gives presents and wears black
to weddings. Laundry, unfolded on bare
tables, makes her sneeze. You’ll never be pure.

The Dissolute Dream of Abishag the Shunemite

I think I shall dream a king.
In his youth he’ll slay a giant.
As he ages—murder his son.
Such a pity he had to grow old.

I’ll dream him a strong voice. He’ll sing
God while he’s pretty and pliant.
He’ll sin quite brave before I’m done.
It’s my dream; he’ll do what he’s told.

With five stones and a homemade sling
He’ll wound a king. His outlaw slant
Will live to haunt his living son
Who’ll wax wise where his father stood bold.

I’ll write it down. The pretty things
I dream will grow true. If I want
I can end this as I’ve begun:
Warming his bed when he grows cold.


Last night, when traffic tied itself in bows,
you rolled up your window to block out horns.
Alone, sealed, music off, you try to form
new words, traffic prayers to smooth the flow,
to give you an illusion of control.
It’s fine to think the road’s stuck in you
but you’re still not moving. Try something new:
Science fiction—you open a wormhole
in concrete. No, you’re much too old, too sane
for that. You sit, inventing lurid lives
for other drivers: One drinks, that one smoothes
his edges with silk underwear, she tames
her lovers with footwear, he has two wives….
Someone leans on a horn. Lights change. Cars move.