Belette de Cette

Belette de Cette

She slumps, sleep-deprived, spent
on the lumpy chaise lounge,
her bedraggled bed of the night
just passed, a thread-bare,
patched, 1950s afghan tangled
at the faded foot.

A steady, staccato drum of
raindrops knock at her darkened window
Before they dribble
like rivulets of blood
from a knife wound
and pool at the window’s ledge.

A garbage truck whines its way
down the drenched street
periodically hitting potholes,
sounding like early-morning
drunkard punches
in a barroom brawl

Periodically, she hears its drill-like
groan as it gobbles garbage
Discarded by tenants in the
Brown-bricked buildings
lining the dead-end street
“Like crunching bones,” she sighs.

The burnished lamp on the end table
barely illuminates half her brittle body
as she waits like  a
wounded rodent in a trap and
whispers in short gasps,
“Where . . . is . . . he?”

Does she hear a scratch at the door?
A wayward, wind-blown branch
possibly or a key missing its mark?
One . . . two . . .  three times–
She waits in clarification–
but no more.

She thinks she can discern
uneven, stumbling footsteps
on the warped, worn,
hardwood hallway floor,
As she stifles her breathing
in anxious anticipation.

She crushes deeper into the chaise
Hoping to hide herself
From the stretched shadow
Slowly slithering through
the living-room doorway,
Accompanied by odors . . .

Of stale cigarettes
and cheap whiskey–
And something else–
too sickeningly sweet,
not quite cinnamony.
“Oh, god,” she groans.

Slowly he appears
Overcoat buttoned haphazardly.
Though a tipped fedora
shadows half his face,
she can see his squinted
eyes and leering smile

With wobbling right hand
He wordlessly offers a browning
(once-white) carnation,
Bending from lack of water.
Nearly lifeless now–
The weasel!


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