She runs down the stairs like a little Dutch dinosaur,
prancing to answer the door in her clogs.
She has many different sorts of shoes, different styles.
She answers the door and it’s the same person that it
always is:
her boyfriend.
Her boyfriend stands awkwardly yet hungrily in the doorway
as she
ushers him inside with familiar words about her job and
about his job,
words about jobs.
He’s over for dinner and a little screwing as usual.
They ‘ll saunter upstairs, discreetly, at ten o’clock
leaving plenty of time for the cock and cunt thing
and a hard-earned rest to prepare for another sparklingly
busy day
of necessary and truly important and gratifying work.

On her birthday we had a little party.
Everybody brought presents and we drank wine and ate food.
She brought over some of her friends from work and they
talked about work
and drank wine.
On halloween she bought a little pumpkin into which she
carved a little
Hallmark greeting-card style jack-o-lantern.
I threw the thing away when it got mouldy.
On Thanksgiving she managed to come up with a little
and the various other bullshit that goes along with it.
On Christmas I’m sure she’ll have a little Christmas tree
with a few presents to scatter beneath it and a stocking
or two
pinned to the mantle.

I’ve read her mail.
I’ve scoured her room, looking for a journal or a notebook
or anything
in which a young woman might express her innermost
I found nothing.
She saves letters.
They could have all been written by the same person.
Cordial, newsy, distant, semi-literate, and boring.
Letters to save in a box, to have and to hold.
Birthday cards, notes from Mom, from Dad, from a sister
in Norman, Oklahoma,
from brothers and from high school friends, from college
friends who are
living and eating and sleeping and fucking in places like
El Paso, Texas,
and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Fayeteville, Arkansas.

This is the way the world is.
She is more a person of the world than I am.
This is who lives on t.v., changing clothes
and shoes to suit varying moods and postures.
She is always prepared.
And she has many useful opinions.
And, as I listen to the nasal twang of her voice
droning through the walls,
I imagine taking my FN FAL .308 up onto the roof
where I can crouch and wait for all her friends and
everyone she knows
to come dumbly up the sidewalk to the house
anticipating dinner.


Image Credit:Arol Lightfoot
Douglas Goodwin is a poet who came to prominence in the 80s and famously attracted the admiration of Charles Bukowski. Goodwin's work is available in rare editions on

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