A white plastic bag caught in a tree limb above the streetlamp: wind-inflated and lit, it swung
and cast globular yellow on the façades across the street then deflating exanimate and limp.
The face and torso of someone in a window watching it.
It was a test or an exercise in self-recognition. The belle-laide light on in the one-room
church. My second story window was recognizable from the sidewalk by the blue sheet that
was my curtain. I think I got it.
The window into the alley aligned to a window of a young woman who wore t-shirts and
panties the small black triangle of the front and in the back it was all of one string. She sliced
onions in her kitchen I knew she knew
I could see her and was glad she left the window uncovered. I wanted to look like I was not
looking but walked in my briefs in reciprocity, I thought, and I touched softly, no arousal, just
a grazing at the window. I was lengthening and subsiding, a syllable of flesh, sir.
The coat for winter still wore. To simply sleep, a strategic measure. The lease governed the
behavior of residents. Hesitated to call the friend back. It was an efficient with wires in the
walls. I had a violin, weakly pulled the bow. At the end of the hall the mahogany stairs
dropped. The gray and white cat shouldered through the doorway past my leg with her tail
curved forward in the air. The tenant agreement required I take out the garbage. It was like
living in a model. No cats allowed. And that winter, the bottom fell out.
The limp rain muted the residents’ movements in their rooms, their partitioned television
programs. Outside in the cold air I carried my waste in a cinched sack as if a warrant along the
brick path. Dry under the eaves. This was momentum in the midst of suspension.
A likeness in the doorglass mimed me for a moment. I thought they’d find my paperwork in
the alley dumpster and steal my numbers.