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Walter and His Fat Wife IV

Walter’s lips are in continuous motion

his mouth is full of bright ideas

and his wife’s kisses.

He is working two jobs now

saving money to take his fat wife to Lagos

to dance the Nigerian Afro-beat at The Shrine.

Rain falls like a drum roll

on Walter’s umbrella.

The street—quiet under cloudy skies—

no ice cream truck, no children

no men, no women waiting in shadows.

Bicycles are lying on their pedals.

Walter’s wife is sitting by the window

in a pale yellow light.

She sees something in the emptiness

that Walter cannot feel with one eye blind—

he feels only her absence

and there is not a thing he can do about it.

When he arrives at home

he wraps his dark arms around her

takes his fat wife under the red blanket

where she tells him she too is blind.

Walter whispers that she is softer than her years

that even in the dark her blue eyes follow him.

This makes her laugh at twilight.

Somewhere on a floor above the street

Walter is dusting a feather

across his wife’s chest

and she is singing Fela Kuti’s

Afrikan Woman.

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