Each day I am tormented when I
search the newspaper obituary column
and find you unlisted.
I am afraid to leave my apartment:
you could be everywhere.
I check and double-check the six
locks bolted to my splitting wooden door. Then,
with one eye closed I stealthily
peek through my hole in the fraying
yellow window shade; perhaps
I will spot you among the gutter-litter—
slithering back and forth,
up and down my street like
a rabid snake shedding its festering skin.
from my hole in the shade with
one eye closed, I begin to dissect
feature by feature, the crazy-wino faces
street people and policemen, terrified
I might accidentally catch a glimpse of your
maniacal smile or your
knowing what it would do to me
should the phone ring now—
I lift the grimy beige receiver from its cracked cradle;
ripping and jabbing at the knotted Curly-Q
cord with preschooler scissors.
and letting them slide
to the mustard-colored rug stained
Marlboro butts smeared.
Again I peek
through my hole in the shade with one eye closed
and know you’re lurking everywhere.