Outside the window, the clouds are in training,
the trees bronchial, but motionless, the sky as
blue as preschool paint. There is no one on the street,
the dog lolls, tongue like pavement. I bought
a vlogging light and feel ashamed. I don’t want
to zoom with anyone, I don’t want to talk or critique
stupid poems, or write a stupid poem, or read or wear
the mask my friend made from scratch (since when
does she sew?) and no I’m not going to clean out
the closet or paint the house. This bedroom window
is so small, it’s a wonder Delia survived here at all,
before missing the step, tumbling down the rest, past
the call button on the wall with its incessant bleating.
If the owner wanted toast he could order her up
night or day, the red-handed, rosary-wielding, upstairs maid,
Delia, who lived here before me, who sailed over
from Ireland—then lost her husband in a streetcar accident,
and her son to a kidney punch, and her granddaughters, and
on and on, and I made it all these years until now
with no obstruction, no tightness, no wilted grapes
or second hand shoes. Now I’m the owner of this house.
And I am the one pressing the call button. The one
alone in this tiny bedroom, summoning Delia each night,
wondering if she would laugh at how quickly I’ve succumbed,
or would she sing to me instead? Offer up a nip of blueberry wine,
pat me on the head? Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral hush now don’t you cry.
Kelly Fordon is the author of the short story collection, I Have the Answer, Wayne State University Press, 2020, a poetry collection, Goodbye Toothless House, Kattywompus Press, 2019, and Garden for the Blind, Wayne State University Press, 2015, as well as three award-winning poetry chapbooks. She lives in and teaches around Detroit. Her website is www.kellyfordon.com.