Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spring Cleaning

by Shannon Curtin

Forgotten fivers,
rogue receipts,
a miscellaneous solicitation:

These are the kinds of scraps of life one expects
to unearth from the rumpled envelope
found while turning the coat closet
from winter to spring.

Not the treasure of lines of ink on paper
not the rush of words worth reading
not the shock of his most familiar name
written in an alien hand.

Unfolding the letter she felt the words slid off the page
she caught the most important ones, clumsily collecting in her lap
the intimate greeting, a few bold phrases,
 and the flourish of a foreign name at the signature
right below the lynch pin,
Love Always.

Her imagination packed a lunch and ran off with the circus,
leaving her with luxuriously slanted lines of lustful linguistics.
Elegantly transcribed, no doubt, by long slender fingers
attached to long slender limbs,
attached to ethereal beauty.

She was certain.
This woman was Angelina Jolie and Marilyn Monroe.
Betty Davis and Betty Page,
Only prettier.
And with more sex appeal.

This mystery woman most definitely struts effortlessly in stilettos
and she surely holds her liquor and the eye of every man in a ten mile radius.
Of course she can converse about art and politics
and would never forget to take her keys from the door
of her posh apartment on the twenty fourth floor
in the expensive part of town.
Because she must be brilliantly successful as well as gorgeous.

That’s how it works, isn’t it?
She must be immune to headaches and ingrown hairs.
She must make it to sunrise yoga every day
and run a charity for sick children—
sick children in third world countries, naturally.
Only that kind of woman could pull astray
a man so fastidious. A man so solid.
A man so married.

And darling, she is most certainly sleeping with your husband
though the perfume plumed paper only
Winks suggestively at the thought.
Though who came blame him?
Because she must be irresistible, mouthwatering, sex on legs
because no one would choose one flavor of ordinary
over another,
Except that they do.
It happens every day.

It’s the six o clock news. It’s please
pick up milk and bread. It’s cleaning
the closets on a Sunday afternoon.

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