The Two Supers

By Lynne Sharon Schwartz

The Puerto Rican super next door 
was an outrageous flirt, and I
in a careless way, flirted back.  
I couldn't take a super seriously.  
When he asked me to dinner 
I thanked him but declined. 
He looked downcast.  
Maybe in another life, I said, 
meaning to be kind.
Indelible, the hurt look on his face.
From that day on he never spoke to me 
and turned away when I passed.  
No way to explain,
or swallow back the clumsy words.
When he left, I felt relief.  

The new super was Luis.  No flirting,  
just neighborly talk.  He likes to say 
I haven't changed in thirty years.  
I like to hear it, laugh and say it back, 
we laugh together standing on the street.
I push my granddaughter in her stroller,
Luis leans down to greet her, 
reaches in his pocket for a harmonica,
plays My Darling Clementine.  
She jiggles her arms and legs in time, 
gazes at him in dazzlement,
as if she hears the music of the spheres.
Indelible, the glee that's on her face.
Almost enough to erase 
that other face.
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About Lynne Sharon Schwartz

Lynne Sharon Schwartz's first novel Rough Strife was nominated for a National Book Award in 1980. Other works include Balancing Acts, Disturbances in the Field, Acquainted With the Night, The Melting Pot and Other Subversive Stories, Leaving Brooklyn (nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction), The Fatigue Artist, Ruined by Reading In the Family Way: An Urban Comedy, Face to Face, In Solitary, Referred Pain, The Writing on the Wall (2005), and The Emergence of Memory: Conversations With W.G. Sebald, as well as two poetry collections, In Solitary and See You in the Dark. Her work has been widely anthologized, and she teaches in the Bennington Writing Seminars and at Columbia University's School of the Arts.

One Comment

  1. Charanjit Singh
    Posted April 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    What a charming poem! Thank you Lynne

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