The Towel


The Towel



The lover sits unnoticed in a corner.

He has taken the form of a print on the wall,

a light green jacket hung from the back of a chair.

The composition of the print,

the fact that the jacket might slip

are that delightful painful tension

a lover feels. So is

the sound of West Side traffic through

the closed window (it’s autumn). He wishes

that noise weren’t here but, behind

the half-open door of her bathroom, she

ignores it. Towels herself dry.

(The towel is two-thirds as long as herself.)

In the mirror checks for lines – there are none.

A new hair dryer has a pleasant warmth

and roar, as if furnaces had cubs.

Her hair is compliant. Though her thoughts

are elsewhere, the hair frames

her face like one. The robe

on the back of the bathroom door is also green.

In a moment the lover will be there;

but for now, though glad, she has only begun

to prepare. Steps into the room, half-lowers

the blind, hangs up the jacket,

and is at this moment

the way she might exist in an old man’s mind.

Frederick Pollack


Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both Story Line Press; the former to be reissued 2022 by Red Hen Press. Two collections of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS, (Prolific Press, 2015) and LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Pollack has appeared in Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Magma (UK), Bateau, Fulcrum, Chiron Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, etc.  Online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire  Review, Mudlark, Rat’s Ass Review,  Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, Ariel Chart (2019, 2021), etc.

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