blanket pulled tight in all directions,
someone’s about to arrive –
he, feeling like a man
and not even packing a pistol –
she, nervous as a squirrel,
but reassured ten thousand times
by five or so voices of experience.
She sits in the chair
still gripping her handbag.
He drops their luggage.
Hops on the bed.
She rifles through the freebies
in a small writing desk.
“Free postcards,” she proclaims,
a tremble to her voice.
That’s not all that’s free tonight,
She’s involuntarily pale
but struggling to keep her dignity.
He’s growing older in all directions.
The room’s no longer what it was.
The spotlessness has been drained.
The blanket’s crumpled
like paper in a fist.
She scribbles something on the post-card,
can’t believe she’s addressing it
to a place no longer hers.
He fiddles with the zipper on his trousers.
They’ll find an apartment soon enough
but those metal teeth
are where they’re really going to be living.
She gets pregnant that night or the next.
She grows into motherhood,
more self-assured than her family can believe.
He’s a jumpy, panicky father.
He’s his new bride’s other child.
She keeps the bedroom spotless.
She pulls the blanket tight in all directions.