presses his ear against the thinnest wall
of his apartment. In the empty space
between, he hears a static like the sea’s.
Past that—above the television’s talk
she always falls asleep to—a loud clock
tallies the gradual hours.
He waits until
she rouses for a drink, washes her face,
removes her lenses. Then he pulls away,
paces the hall again.
he bartered from a girl with scarlet lips
just west of the canal—outside of Lille—
lies uncorked on the counter. Overhead,
the fan wheels freely in the dark.
he thinks, must make for patient lovers. He
should go to bed.
This late, the distant ships—
the quiet chore of their unmooring—sound
to him like her when no one is around,
when, loosening her robe by slow degrees—
as he unloops and coils his belt now—she
presses her ear firmly against the wall.