July 29, 2022

Doris


I asked her where she lived and she said
“On Tenth Street, the third teepee on the left.”

I looked at her and didn’t answer right away

“You thought I was serious? We don’t live in teepees anymore!” she cackled

I knew that of course of course 

but for her amusement I pretended I didn’t 

she was a full blooded Cherokee 

shiny long black hair, high cheekbones 

worked as a chef at a casino restaurant 

serving people who were eating between their losing streaks

said she could get me a discount on food

fried chicken, ribs, chocolate milk shakes, pizza

barely standing five feet tall

she had ten feet tall of spirit 

I told her I was a poet

she asked what I did for money

I responded I picked up a side job here and there 

sighing and smiling wistfully

she said “Oh, one of those!”

I told her I painted too and I’d do a portrait of her 

she laughed saying “I’m not taking my clothes off.”

I said it wouldn’t matter because I did abstracts 

and you couldn’t tell anyway

laughing, she said in that case she might 

if she had enough liquid courage 

so one night we met in my cold studio/basement apartment 

under an appropriately full moon

with a couple of bottles of requisite wine courtesy of the casino

and Doris’s five finger discount 

she slipped her clothes off and struck a pose

she was a pleasing to look at model

I made sure I didn’t work too fast

and after I was done she looked 

at the completed painting 

“I took my clothes off for that?”

I guess she wasn’t into abstracts

I thought it was actually pretty good 

that I had captured the warmth of her inner essence

saying she was cold, she slipped under

the sheets and a homemade quilt of my unmade bed

both not made by me of course

I suddenly felt a little cold myself 

wanting to feel the warmth of her inner essence