The Vapors

Because she spills
a glass of red wine
on her new dress,

she finds herself
in a public restroom. Because

she slips
on the floor,
she drops

a bag filled with precious
amber figurines.

Because the cat
loses its ear,
she races

to a nearby
hardware store

to buy some glue.
Because they are
out of stock,

she tries a corner bodega,
then a Duane Reade,

before buying a tube
in a novelty craft shop
blocks away.

Because she is rushing,
she affixes the ear on

crooked. Because
she starts to cry
hysterically, her mascara

begins to streak
down her cheeks.

Because she finds
herself standing
in front of a mirror

in the same public restroom,
she hears a loud boom

nearby, causing her
to escape down
a darkened corridor

where she detects
the sound of a train

rolling into the station overhead.
Because she doesn’t know
where she is

and can’t find anyone
to ask for directions,

she stays lost
for a long time
before discovering

an open door
that leads to a stage.

Because the band is playing
its encore, she waits politely
for them to finish before

walking on, jumping off,
twisting her ankle

(only slightly). Because
she is limping, a stranger
offers to carry her

heavy bag. Because
he is so kind,

she relaxes, catches
her breath, finally speaks:
“What was that explosion?”

“Oh, that’s the city
letting off steam.”

Because their conversation
unfolds naturally over time,
the last train is leaving

on Track 2 just as she reaches
the waiting room.

Because she finds herself
on a nearby bar stool
contemplating another glass of wine.





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