Patric Pepper

Number 6 Sherman Circle

In this     my 70th year     like a time traveler     from a grade

B movie     I wander back     to a few months before

they married     in 1943     wander to     her very own room

in a house full     of young women     working women all

at number 6 Sherman Circle     I watch the two

of them     mount     the steps

to her front door     I watch

her     rifle her purse for the key     I see them     feverishly

in Love     oh find the key     this Tuesday afternoon

everyone at work     they at the most important work     of all

and when she finds the key     she turns     to him     and they

embrace     soon to be     true lovers     the two of them

smoldering like the bodies

of Bergman & Bogart     as if

they are one     which they are     watch her     pull the door &

lock it shut     watch them mount     the last staircase

into their     very own room     and     she locks the ultimate door

their Love tingling     having blossomed into     Lust     I watch

them undo     each other     the 40s dress     blue & white

modest shoulder pads     left on the seat     of a straight-back chair

with his Army greens thrown     on the back of the chair     in this

my 70th year

her stockings     of ever-straight seams     draped

over his jacket     his spit & polish shoes     dropped     his tie

tossed     and soon at last     they embrace     naked as naked gets

I watch them

fall     into the narrow bed     pull     each other

into     the wide     forgiving fiery demanding twin bed     to join

forever     now     in Lust     which is their Love     this first

afternoon     of their proper life     tongue to tongue     red nails

running through his hair     his hands inching down

her back

they cleave     he in her     she enveloping him     before her

housemates return     on the bus from downtown     as American

bombers     practice     in the sky     in this my 70th year



The symbols of the precious self lie packed

in whiskey boxes, haphazardly stacked,

beside the hearth: the living room of the past.

One sits.

One stares.

The self is not so vast

as fancied just some few hours ago

when settlement papers shuffled to-and-fro,

and all was handshakes,


and lives to build.

It seemed the working out of what was willed.

But now the mortgagor sits in dust,

a doubtful body driven by what must

be done—

out by tomorrow—

and wicked sore,

with everything to move tonight, and more

to fix, to pitch, to clean.

Self seems a dream

that prods a tired body with its scheme.

One marvels.

U-Hauls grumble through the city

as nameless stars ascend—

no malice, no pity.

Patric Pepper is the author of one full length collection of poems Temporary Apprehensions (2004, winner of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House Poetry Prize) and three poetry chapbooks. He is a founding editor of Pond Road Press, which has published thirteen books of poetry and chapbooks to date. His work has appeared most recently in Backbone Mountain Review, Bourgeon, Feral, The Northern Virginia Review, and Sport Literate. Pepper lives on Cape Cod in North Truro, Massachusetts.

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