From her bulletproof, fireproof booth,
she speaks through a microphone
to answer your question.
You can see her lips move.
Above you, the city darkens into neon....
Later, a cop will knock
at her steel door.
Her own shift over,
she'll pass through a turnstile,
ascend to her apartment
in a building whose elevator
more often than not is out-of-order.
The city below her,
she'll heat her dinner,
chicken this evening, with mashed potatoes
& corn or peas; or beef, ditto.
In the aluminum tray, too,
a few spoonfuls of dessert,
usually apple cobbler....
In grade school,
she heard about Johnny Appleseed,
a wino who walked our country planting orchards.
Every spring, the countryside bloomed white,
& then tons of red fruit
weighed down the boughs.
William Heyen has had poems in recent
issues of Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly Review, Ohio Review,
Ontario Review, Coffee House I (England), and Maverick (online).
A story, "The Babies," appears in the current issue of
Witness. His books Erika and The Host: Selected Poems are in print
with Time Being Books; Crazy Horse in Stillness--winner of 1997's
Small Press Book Award for Poetry--and Pig Notes & Dumb Music:
Prose on Poetry are published by BOA. He lives in Brockport, New