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From Recurring Dream

Thirty-Fourth Street

Downtown, the rain is not neutral.
Look into it, and it is 1952; 1953 tops.
Duck into Altman's. You'll spot the past
as she sits smoking in the ladies’ lounge,
her gloves placed beside her on the couch.
She’ll be happy to see you -- put out her cigarette,
invite you to lunch on the seventh floor.
You're shown to a table,
among mothers, sisters, friends
eating chicken salad and Parker House rolls,
shopping bags by their bony feet.
You can't wait to tell her:
She was right. That green coat was not
a good purchase. You got tired of it. It's what she always said:
Neutrals. You can’t go wrong with neutrals.
The waitress, her face burdened with makeup, waits patiently.
"Nothing else today for you, girls?"
Your companion grabs the check. It’s her treat. She won’t hear of it.
Next time. Next time.
When it is gray and cold and your coat is damp and you forget
not to go out in the rain.