Coming into his study from
the bedroom suite
(to adjust the thermostat)
from Connecticut
can’t make the mind-body
connection, doesn’t let
the funky 1940’s
man’s acetate
robe she bought
at a Hollywood
thrift shop just yesterday
fall open, doesn’t flaunt
bosom and pubic hair
like an art deco
stylized Klimt lady,
doesn’t turn to face him
where he is sitting
(unexpectedly) at his desk
fully clothed,
saying “Good Morning!”
with a broad grin, even
though she’s seen
women do this on
TV, raise
one arm, hand to hair
the folds of material
fall open
like a bedroom curtain
pulled back
to let the daylight in,
but, instead, reminds herself


he is
her husband’s colleague
and friend,
the glint of his diamond
pinky ring
and says, “I was cold.”
to which he says, “Oh, sorry.
Of course, turn the heat up.”
wonders why he is
there at 7 in the morning,
lurking like
a wolf in his lair,
recalls his daughter’s
resigned comments
about his girlfriends,
“…every year
a different one”
wonders, as she pulls
the robe tight across her chest,
what would happen
if she took
a single step toward him,
if the hundreds of books
would slide
from their shelves,
if the whole room, set
as it was
on the edge of a cliff,
would tumble
down, falling into
some California
seismic abyss
of lust and guilt
and academic

Janet Chalmers is an author and poet living in New York. Her poems and reviews have appeared in Inkwell, Barrow Street, Kenyon Review, The Mom Egg and Chelsea, among other journals. She holds an MFA from Columbia University.