Poems by Robert James Russell
It’s that laugh of hers that gets me
(gets me every time)
like an electric shock it wakes me,
pounds me prattling into cohesion,
and with one look in her eyes
(those greenmarbled sunsets)
She sees the patterns no one else does,
the beauty of it all,
her words floating up and around
always beaming bright, that smile that laugh of hers
(those greenmarbled sunsets).
MY NEIGHBOR IN THE APARTMENT ACROSS THE HALL
She’s an obese woman whose clothes
don’t fit: shirts that ride up too high
her belly hanging out her pants
suctioned to her strangely pegged legs.
Her ballooned cheeks are always chapped pink
her lips little slivers peeled back over
small beige teeth like riverstones
set in swollen gums. Her hair is
luxurious but she doesn’t seem
to know what to do with it; she often
touches loose strands when people walk by,
a nervous tick perhaps.
Her sister is always visiting and they
gather outside my window
pacing and talking in loud practiced dialogues
about their collective woes.
She’s married to a Mexican man
half her size named Marco whom
she fights with daily, usually about
their daughter, a small wispy thing
that never makes a peep.
She has eyes like wildfires
but you can tell, talking to her even briefly,
that she doesn’t expect to get
to where it is she wishes she was going.
I’m very worried that
you’ll find some reason to leave me
so I tend to act overly assertive
due to my insecurities
but I hope you understand that
this is for your own good
and soon you’ll know
how much I love you.