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The Watcher

Paula Mendoza-Hanna

The wife makes pie, sets it on the sill
unties the frilly apron and dusts the white off
her prim hands, stands barefoot, protruding
a changeling under her pink blouse.

I watch from a tree. I like how her hair shines.
I like how she hums the slow jams, like how she
sighs, like how she answers the phone—

a music box opening. They are always saying something
funny, it seems, she is always laughing, into the phone—
these silky peals, thin fingers rippling bath water.

She is so bright, I want to wrap her in gauze to keep her
from bursting. Maybe take the kitchen's lace curtains
and drape it over her head like a veil. If she could stay, If I

could hide her. If I could let her stay, mummified
in gauze, or lace—all the brightness holding in its breath.
If I could hold her breath in. If I could just hold her breath.
If I could take a terry towel and place it over her
pretty pink mouth. And make the soft humming

even softer, softer, than—softer than—
the music she babbles, the tiny foxglove bells in her
small laugh. Yes! Like the pale purple—shivering—dew
chimes they must sound to—birds, when the breeze
swirls inside those foxgloves, her small petal thin
mouth, with all the dandelion breeze blown in it.

How I'd like all that delicate music to stay
locked up in her mouth, fluttery, pretty
and dancing in a gossamer panic, like catching a moth

or other papery winged thing in your cupped hands.
Your hands a warm cage, a small flesh room for
the dancing thrall, its thrilling little fits, a wet eye
glittering, reflected in your silver, or how eyelashes feel
against the slope of a cool cheek, shuddering
a dream—a fluttering eye in a dream.

Paula Mendoza-Hanna

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