Some of us lived here so many years
tenement with a beige lobby
until the landlord’s son painted the lobby
pool table green we say hello familiar strangers know
some of each other’s secrets. My first neighbor
long gone she called herself Mrs. Israel
I would visit once in a while she liked the company
liked me to leave too Mrs. Israel died
in her apartment occupied next by the building’s
first drag queen I have one of his yellow dresses when
he fell in love with a married investment banker
they moved in together to Greenwich Connecticut
could they still be together now Mrs. Israel a week before
she died knocked on the door first and only time.
The couch was purple velvet then.
Just in case is how she began. I have
to tell you there wasn’t a Mr. Israel.
The best kind of husband she explained.