Susan Aizenberg is the author of a full-length collection of poetry, Muse, from Crab Orchard Poetry Series/SIUP and a chapbook length collection of poems, Peru. More of her work can be found in Volume 2, Issue 1 of burntdistrict.
By Susan Aizenberg
She would have cooked
his breakfast, eggs sunny-side up,
runny the way he liked them,
strong boiled coffee poured
and waiting, better than the diner.
But before the train screaming
through tunnels, his windowless office,
the idiots he had to “sir,”
he needed a space without her
or his children, so he dressed
in a crack of light from the bathroom,
held his shoes by two fingers,
and left them sleeping. That walk
to the diner was his time, last stars
fading out, sky lightening
from black to blue to white.
He walked in all weather,
let each season touch him all over,
lifted his face equally to rain
or sun. He liked to watch the old
houses stir awake, to nod to the woman
in her slippers on 27th, smoking
as she strolled her little mutt.
To step back smoothly
from the paper boy’s wild toss.
Milk bottles sweated on doorsteps,
sweet cream left on top,
and once, though he never told
this, he lifted one from its wire basket,
drank it down, right there, under
his neighbor’s winking porch light,
left the empty on the stoop.