Portrait of the Artist in the First Days of Summer

Portrait of the Artist in the First Days of Summer

Paint left, humidity purgatory, 
Sticky, peeled, white.

Water and lime, the kind you hear about
(Infomercials promise to rid You of The Built Up Scum)
trapped between the lead paint panes.

Clothes piled with invisible coatings of
Dust from the floor last swept ten years ago, 
Costumes of a different person. 

And sweat from leaving the AC off to save a few bucks
And sweat in stained dresses when you touched me,
And sweat in damp briefs when I touched myself. 

Paper stacks, five years, busy work
Books, articles, magazines I should
Have read, say I will, but won’t pick up,

Verses I wrote that go nowhere but
Here and to a Real Poet, happily
Trapped at an average liberal arts college. 

So instead of dressing or cleaning I
Call you, naked, a fattened odalisque, 
Silent for hours, my thin mouth, a suture. 

A fit girl jogs across the dog park,
She saw my bare shoulders, sloped pudgy pale, 
We gazed in the other’s faces, but now

I can’t think what she wore, and she knows
I’m just sad, still: the specter in the window.