In her own words...

"End of the Day on Second"


Her husband, traveling for his company, is rarely home.
Alone, she keeps herself to herself except for the stores.

Once past their revolving doors those mouse-gray webs
of thought that hang around her head like crape soon

lose their grayness, give way to garlands of things, new
things, needed things. She is quick of step, clear of eye,

purposeful. Seven floors of exhilaration await her.
Escalator-bound, she hardly pauses to touch a faux-fur

something which, like all else blazing in its newness, urges
invitation from every counter, every aisle: "Touch me,

open me, feel me, turn me over, unzip me, try me on,
read my label, my price tag, touch me, oh touch me. . . . "

Finally, on second, in bras. Bras swarming everywhere,
giant pink moths at rest, empty cups clamoring,

"Fill me." It's late. Shoppers have left, yet there's time
to try a bra. Emerging from the booth she stands, only

half-dressed and head down, in aisle five, a bra hanging
from her hand. A floorwalker approaches. "May I help you?"

She doesn't look up, murmurs, "My husband is away."
At this, the kindly floorwalker takes her in his arms, her

face hidden on his shoulder. They stand, unmoving,
among the mothy bras that might at any moment rise

in a cloud and leave them, as I am leaving them now,
in their frozen pose, their endless closing time.


About this work

“End of the Day on Second” was first published in The Antioch Review, Vol. 62, no. 1 (Winter 2004), p. 100, and was among the poems in The Best American Poetry 2005, Paul Muldoon and David Lehman, eds. New York: Scribner, 2005, p. 179. 

“End of the Day on Second” is also included in Dorothea Tanning's book, A Table of Content: Poems, New York: Graywolf Press, 2004, p. 15, and may not be reprinted without the publisher's permission.