kissing me now with his cold mouth…

 

 

Delivery
by Marie Howe

The delivery man slowly climbs
the five steep flights of stairs
as I lean down to watch him walking up

as he’s talking on the phone
and now he pauses
on the third-floor landing

to touch a little Christmas light
the girl had wrapped around the banister—
speaking to someone in a language
so melodic I ask him what—
when he hands the package up to me,
and he says Patois—from Jamaica—
smiling up at me from where he’s standing
on the landing

a smile so radiant that
re-entering the apartment I’m
a young woman again, and
the sweetness of the men I’ve loved walks in,
through the closed door

one of them right now,
kicking the snow off his boots,
turning to take my face in his cold hands,
kissing me now with his cold mouth.

Marie Howe, “Delivery” from MAGDALENE published by W.W. Norton Publishing Company

 

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