Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, July 13, 2014


by  Marianne Szlyk

The young celebrity,
whom neither Lila nor her daughter knows,
poses in her red and orange maxi.
She is on her babymoon
by the sun-dappled poolside
with real palm leaf cabanas,
banks of jasmine in bloom,
and lemon trees that cleanse
and sweeten the humid air.

Lila puts down the magazine.
She watches the pregnant receptionist|
waddle back to the restroom.
That girl is the only worker
wearing flat shoes,
but they do match her red
baby doll dress
and drop earrings.
And her blond bob is sharp
enough to cut through
the salty, overcast day outside.

Lila sympathizes with her.
She was pregnant once.

During the long hot summer that began in April,
five months
before Estelle finally was born,
Dave offered to drive her
to the Cape
or at least Castle Island
to cool off in the tepid sun and salt breeze
heavy with warm onion rings,
beer, and classic rock,
to escape the city’s stink
of garbage and perfume.

She turned him down.

When she was not at work,
she spent the summer upstairs watching
golf for the cool greens and water hazards.