she told me I was a lovely girl
and that her son was lonely.
I was twenty-two,
listening to an almost-widow
apologize for my empty apron.
they told me not to expect anything,
so I didn’t, and told her I’d be fine.
she told me her husband was happy
and that he couldn’t read letters.
So, he couldn’t read “tip,”
but again, it’s not such a faux pas
when we recall the doctor easing cotton out the ear.
recently, I’ve been collected
though I never learned to organize.
truthfully, I’ve never chosen to
as I grab my backpack before the day.
After five, I searched for news
while staring at a love letter rolled up straight
and taut, written in ballpoint ink without any sound of my name.
eyes on the collar, I pawed at my keys,
gaze reciprocated when I pulled out a maxi pad two weeks early.