Dinner at the Lucky Noodle
Both elbows of your plaid shirt—another I’ve never
seen—are on the table as you reach for the fried
noodles, dip them in duck sauce, crunch them whole
and you are laughing—those perfect white teeth
belying the photograph your orthodontist once showed
me of you at 12—your mouth an overcrowded city—
I think: How young you still look. And of the time
at the Stormville Flea Market when that man
asked you if your mother wanted to buy his books
and I realized he meant me. Your eyes are green today,
because of the shirt—I always loved that about your eyes
until even color did them no good. You are telling me
about her—or rather about you and her, since I’ve known
her nearly as long as you have, though evidently not as well.
You say she’s jealous of the 18-year-old girl on your job:
I swear, Lin, she looks like you, only you’re prettier.
Even the same mannerisms. And how hard it is for you.
But I’m stuck at you’re prettier and I want to shout
When did you think I was pretty? And reroll all our history
to that moment and live there with you.
Linda McCauley Freeman has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies, including Trailer Park Quarterly. Her work has been translated into Chinese translation for an international journal, and she won Grand Prize in Storiarts poetry contest honoring Maya Angelou, and her work was selected by the Arts Mid Hudson for inclusion in their Artists Respond to Poetry show. She has an MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College and is the former poet-in-residence of the Putnam Arts Council. She and her husband are professional swing dance instructors in the Hudson Valley, NY.