Dear Joan

I loved Elaine
and so much admired her
independence and
her sense of humor.
She could eat Chinese Food
seven days a week.
She was a wonderful
friend for my mother
who wasn’t all that easy
is anyone’s mother easy
and she stood next to me
when my mother
was dying and insisted
we eat Chinese food
whenever possible. She
was right. I was so
glad to have her standing
next to me and now that
Elaine is dead we should all
go have a Chinese meal
the kind she loved
all you can eat shrimp
in one of those inconceivable
buffets why are they all red
and we can tell Elaine stories
and remember what she told us
which was to eat
Chinese food whenever possible
and remember to laugh.

Christine

She owned a clothing store
next door to the hardware store
in the nearby town.
Two girls stole their prom dresses
by putting them on then walking
out the door. Cristine called
the police. Everyone went to the precinct
together. The girls parents
chastised Christine for
ruining the prom.
A month later she moved
to Michigan.

Neighbor Martha

When she retired
from the New York City police department
moved to live
full time in Upstate New York
33 years ago
she got a job
as a supermarket cashier.
In her eighties she is still
checking out groceries.
At Hannefords today
she said
I still swim
a medley of strokes.

Hairport, Cairo, New York (3 people)

70 year old woman named RI

I’d like to shave my head
just to see if I can handle it.

Mary, mid 40’s

My husband has
a good job
in the toll both
on the Taconic.
But he only cares
about golf.
Watches golf
on TV.
Reads golf magazines.
He plays on his time off.
I’m thinking of leaving.
I hate golf.

Sam, 22

I want to be
something like
a man. What I mean
is not a young girl.

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