I wake to a party of strangers
in the subway car, staring as if I weren't invited.
I wake up stiff and sit.
I wake up slow. My bones
will never like a plastic rocking bed.
I take my cigarette,
making it work in my mouth,
then turn my face, my flat face
blank as a shovel
and look out hard at nothing in this car.
Familiar strangers
look at me pretending not to see.
. . .























. . .
Do you like my pink party dress?
You like my party dress.
Does my slip show? My slip shows.
You like my white legs, pretty as a runner's
my white sandals? Keep your sly looking
from the window mirrors,
and I'll keep my legs together
a 50-year-old habit. Honey, you're hooked on looking.
Does my bleached hair please you? No.
I coil it tight as a spring, and I don't embarrass.
It stands while you sit. It's a snob.
. . .























. . .
I travel days and stay
dressed for the party. I rock all night
and wake in bad neighborhoods.
My dress is a fiesta. My legs remember parties
when they caught a lot of eyes.
They danced a new dance in bright white socks once,
my feet in these same sandals
with heart-shaped holes,
danced up the sky.
And we held on to each other with our eyes.
. . .























. . .
I take your stare
sideways without flinching, turn.
You jerk it back embarrassed. Watch
my mouth accept this cigarette like an invitation
from my hand. Watch it fit these lips
before I light it, casually, like a glance.
Watch me inhale, hold
cross my legs and blow a slow
deliberate smoke at the signs of "No" in this car
on my way to the party, seeing that you see
the sexy move I've got left in me.