for Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944)
Lack-luster We told them these were our “long, empty
friends and hours” and that we’d nap or primp,
acquaintances but instead we rose to all the trappings
and left in a whiff of musk.
I coaxed my friend
to our bursting floral aisles,
our shady map of continents.
We found the depths oi the store
without them. Tracing icy beads
and soothing a feathered edge,
we decided—though not out loud—
that we could be unfaithful here,
carry out a scheme as chilling
as espionage and convene with those
just minutes known.
“Almost Florentine,” she said,
“the lusting after mauves and insignia.”
Then we caught our admirer at the doorway,
holding forth the fray of the city.
We needed to find a flame
for his anemic character, since
it was always Mondayish for him.
“You be the . . . agent,” she said,
“I see you in angora
and a loose, low waist.”
“He’d think I looked like
a royal vase,” I said,
“we can’t look as if we’re nesting.”