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Elaine Equi: Pick of the Week [ed. Terence Winch]

Elaine Equi. Photo by Jerome Sala.
















photo by Jerome Sala


The Repairman


I can’t get rid of him. One day I found him sprawled on the floor tinkering

with the radiator. He was very vague about who had called him (not me)

but seemed to think he had every right to be there. Then he handed me a bill

for several thousand dollars. I said: “I can’t deal with this now, I’m late

for an appointment.” But when I got to my office, he was already standing

in the hallway tapping the walls with a concerned look. “Structural tests,” he said.

After that I began seeing him everywhere, like a shadow carrying a toolbox.

He followed me to school as sure as Mary’s little lamb. Later, he followed me

into a bar, sat a few stools away, sipped a beer, and made fun of my taste

in game shows. He even had the audacity to ring my mother’s doorbell on

Thanksgiving claiming he had come to look at the dishwasher, but instead

got into a discussion with her about fall fashions. In all fairness, he doesn’t

seem dangerous or malicious; he’s never tried any funny business. But I have

to ask myself if he’s fixed one thing. The answer is I don’t think he even tries.

He just seems to want to be with me. Meanwhile, the bills keep coming.


Elaine Equi’s latest book is The Intangibles from Coffee House Press. Her other books include Ripple Effect: New & Selected Poems, Click and Clone, and Sentences and Rain. Widely published and anthologized, her work has appeared in the American Poetry Review, Big Other,  the Brooklyn Rail, The Nation, The New Yorker, Poetry, and in many editions of the Best American Poetry. She teaches at New York University and in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at The New School.


John Ahbery--the-painter_2014_collage

              "The Painter," collage by John Ashbery, 2014.

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


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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