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Molly Arden

"Estelle" [by Molly Arden]

Louise Dahl-Wolf  Liz Gibbons as Photographer 1938

Mom was somewhere north
of the kitchen
watching the new girl, Estelle,
sashaying in her crisp apron with a dust-mop.

The bed posts trembled when her poof
passed over them as if they were living men.

Molly read a romance that first winter night
after Estelle put away the dishes fed the dogs 
and hung the wet laundry on the lines outside.
While she read the wind dried the garments 
in the cold February wind, on the verge of flying.

Both girls watched from their windows
as shivering sky creatures wore and inflated 
the pants and shorts of the daytime household.
Molly shivered thinking of her maid, Estelle,
who lived among the camisoles and slippers.

She lived among the camisoles and slippers
of the household like a fox in a nest of feathers.
Molly saw Estelle after her Saturday bath
when everyone else slept and kissed her own
breasts thinking of Estelle’s rounder ones.


April 13, 2018

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly

Radio

I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark


from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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