Wisconsin Diana was reading from the big book when I walked in late.
Give her another half hour: she'd be talking about her father by 8:30.
That same old story. That pink cashmere sweater, that pink lipstick.

The meetings, the rooms, the secret language,
the Oreos, the cliches, the 30-day chips,
the sick, sweet, lard-and-sugar frosted birthday cakes from Vons.
The cigarettes, Lucinda's baby, the flat, dishwatery coffee:
It all got on my nerves.

Now Martha, sitting in front of me, she wasn't so dead earnest yet.
I read the leather tag on her jeans: 28 x 32. 32 in heels.
Her court card stuck out of her back pocket.
She turned around in the schoolroom chair and smiled at me.


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