, , , , , , , , , , ,

by Matthew Licht

She’d left her book facedown on the blanket while she tanned her back. I asked what she was reading. She looked up, turned the book and herself over, and said she was working on a degree in comparative literature.

“Has anyone ever compared you to Marilyn Monroe?”

She said she heard it all the time.

The gloom in her apartment mysteriously added years to her face. She played along, with whispers and kisses blown into the air.

Marilyn Monroe said anyone who got in her bed was bound for disappointment. This Marilyn pulled a sad face when she saw the rubber. She said she wanted to feel love. But I went to college too, for a bit. You learn stuff.

She wanted music for the act. She stuffed a 45 in her plastic record player’s slot. Her favorite Italian single skipped.

The red light zone wasn’t far away. It felt like we’d have to pump away forever. A damaged loop conjured long-dead foreign summers, “Fumo blu, fumo blu …”

She yelled my name when she came. Aliases were like condoms, something you’d better learn to use. She flopped around enough to get me off, then slumped. The fogged mirror on the back of the door of her room reflected a couple in darkness.

Matthew Licht writes the weekly bilingual Hotel Kranepool column for Stanza 251.