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
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.
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
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.
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.
on Greg McBride