Chana Bloch





Please Hold

You used to imitate a camel 
eating—nostrils flared, your dogged 
hilarious jaw  
sawing left and right. It was easy 
to love you then.

I'd start coq au vin
on the poky two-burner,			 
James Beard propped open with a pot.

That time we dialed Pan Am and danced
to their "Please Hold" fox trot, Mulligan's
honey-slow horn, remember?  
the telephone pressed between us. . . .

We'd drowse off at midnight, a muddle    	  
of arms and legs 			     		 
till your cock-crow under the covers					 
awakened us both.		

And then there was morning. I'd steal
one last-minute dream
and open my eyes to a blur
of Burma Shave
in the bathroom doorway, a fizz of sunrise

you wiped away, then
two-stepped toward me.