She wears green eye shadow. Sea-green eye shadow from her lashes to her brows. A crocheted sweater that exactly matches the eye shadow. A patterned skirt that exactly matches the sweater and the eye shadow.
She’s super-coordinated. The coordination strikes me as intentional. She’s chosen her outfit for its effect, although her idea of its effect and mine are probably different. It’s a trap, an assertion of control.
She reminds me of my Italian cousins. Square brick houses on tight suburban streets with Madonnas-in-bathtubs on front lawns. She has a mouth like Cher, glossy and pink. I can’t stop staring at her. I’m fascinated.
I despise her. I wish I was in Newark. I can see the entrance to the train station, the dirty tan stone steps. Hunched men in shadows and the late night underground glare. I can walk right past them or stop. I know I’m going to stop.
Karen Schoemer poetry has appeared in Hobo Camp Review, La Presa, and Up the River. She is vocalist for the bands Sky Furrows and Jaded Azurites. Her music journalism has been widely published and anthologized; her book Great Pretenders: My Strange Love Affair with ’50s Pop Music was published in 2006. A recent graduate of the Writer’s Foundry MFA program in Brooklyn, she is working on her debut poetry collection, Third Nature.
Image: “Don’t Say It” by Bobbi Le’ Rae Valentin