It is late. Mother will come home soon,
smelling of cold street, red lipstick,
redder hair, trench coat. The pea green
elevator opens right into the loft—once
she found a homeless man in bunched hose,
a tutu, smeared makeup, waiting mid-afternoon,
so she shooed him out like a foreign cat—
what else could she have done?
The trouble with slash beauty of fetuses
is that they can be toted all over, tucked as they are
into the very tissue of things. You, the elder, lay lame
on the stairs like a failing kidney while the baby
bobs to events, safe in belly.
You have always lived in this long loft,
parents elongated oil paintings in the sun
that comes from the front windows. They are
classy cartoons, seated in leather chairs,
talking on two separate telephones,
motioning "no" with the unengaged hand.
You lay back and see their faces,
hovering like inexhaustible
ghosts. You see a nanny avatar
with hair as an aviator's hat-flap.
The elevator's process is thus- a rush of air
as if from the ocean floor, then ding!
Sometimes it moves past four and up
to the Chelsea boys' pad on five. Sad
looking kids come out of that place,
their arms skinny, freckled.
Lena Dunham is a student at Oberlin College, where she studies creative writing. Her work is forthcoming in the Saint Ann's
Review and Deep Cleveland. She edits the online journal The Dead Horse Review.