Fifty years the butcher shop
has hung these animals on hooks
to cure. The stationery store
dispenses the same old news,
same change, a little less silver;
ladies in a beauty shop desire
the perfect permanent.
Mornings this bright
cast the deepest shade;
everything seems to come
from memory. The subway’s elevated.
Down the block toward the river Bronx
each yard has a chain-link fence, a dog
attracted to the random noise.
The woman no one knows is dead is still
in the chair by the bedroom plant.
Stripes advance from the blind
to her lap, slower than the human
eye can see. Above the accidents
of traffic you can hear
her clock and clean refrigerator hum.
Heather McHugh's Other Poems
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