Fifth Estate # 333, Winter, 1990

she had quickly cleaned the house
now she waited
perched nervously on the kitchen stool
as if she were a bird ready to take flight

Finally, he arrives
dressed fashionably in grey and white
he cuts an elegant figure
and the interview begins—
he asks:
which do you prefer
the black enamel finish
or these soft, muted rose-tones
shall we discuss the various
textures of carpets
or do you prefer the sensual earthiness
of a fine wood floor
the stark simplicity of the modern
or the eclectic clutter
of the victorian?

she nervously draws on her cigarette
wipes the perspiration from
the space between her eyes
and slowly turns her head
away from him

how do you feel about lighting?
he asks her
gallery-style tract lights
or the subdued and more subtle
lamp lighting
but wait, he implores, as though
looking at her for the first time—
how important is this to you?
and she, with barely a whisper answers him:
I can’t hear you—
What ever are you talking about?

all she hears is the tick, tick, tick
of her kitchen clock
passing carefully measured time
and the faint, very faint
scuffling of a spider
moving up the wall