n electrician stops by to look at her wiring. ďYouíve got an old panel here,Ē he says, slapping her circuit breaker. She tries to read sexual innuendo into everything, but it just isnít working.

I like someone, reads one email. Can you guess who it is?

A man in the supermarket: she imagines his soft lips against her collarbone. She avoids eye contact.

What is the nature of the conjugal contract? Two people agree to pool their money and their desire, or at least the enactment of their desire. The imagination is completely off-limits. The lust that dare not speak its name: that of a woman for the anonymous anatomy of a stranger.

Jimmy Carter said, ďIíve committed adultery in my heart many times.Ē

While he speaks she tries not to imagine his penis in her mouth, his eyes rolling back, the dull thrum of his moaning. What is he saying? Something about the washing machine? Oh yeah, something about the traveling habits of contemporary families. God, she could die of boredom.

Not every man is attractive. That man there, for instance. She is just exercising, sweaty, hair plastered to her forehead. But if he looked at her and smiled, she could become interested.

When was the last time she had a crush? When she thinks crush she feels the terrible weight of a manís body, the suffocation and thrill, the anticipation of satisfaction, a tickle on the roof of her mouth. The word is a tongue between her teeth. Not hers.

She remembers one man: his hair completely white, though he couldnít have been over forty. He was with his wife and they were buying novels. She smiled and complemented him on his glasses. His eyes were an intense blue. She thought the wife smirked as they turned away from her.

She called a man to come over and fix her phone. But they sent a woman.

She finds reading most thrilling of all, hoping the author will maneuver the characters into a bedroom, or a room with a couch or a big overstuffed chair. She remembers a boyfriend pursuing her over the back of the couch and onto the floor. She has to stop reading for a moment. Whatever happened to him?

Her husband gets a haircut and buys a suit for his job interview. When he arrives home and opens the door she experiences momentary amnesia. This guy is okay, she thinks. Who is he?

 

 
 

 

 
  hose pink geraniums, in the flowerbox outside my front door, may or may not be a bartender. He may or may not stop by three times a week to water them. I never see him.

The guy who planted those flowers is a DJ at the community radio station. He may or may not be the star of his own Irish film. His show is called ďThe Celtic DragonĒ and every Sunday at three he plays the same songs; these songs form the soundtrack of the film that may or may not be his life.

He likes me because Iím Irish. I told him my last name and he blushed. I leaned in and said ďIím a poet.Ē I may or may not have been lying. He likes me because Iím a writer of Irish ancestry and he may or may not be, right at this moment, thinking of me, dialing my number or writing me a poem.

I should never have let him in. A few weeks ago some friends and I were leaving a bar with a case of Luckyís and he tagged along. He was invited by my friend who happens to be in a band with him. We went to my apartment and drank the whole case of beer and ate leftover chili on saltine crackers. This may or may not have been when he saw the dead flowers in the flowerbox outside my door. This may or may not have been when he discovered I was a poet. I may or may not have been drunk.

Itís a small town. Example: a friend of mine with curly red hair and a British boyfriend enchanted this same man. Her voice has a slight lilt from her on-going conversations with said British boyfriend and this lilt may or may not pass for an Irish accent. This accent definitely contributed to the obsession that the guy who planted those flowers had with her.

The guy who planted those flowers cannot remember my best friendís name though they have both lived in this town for six years. She says it may or may not have to do with the fact that she is in posession of certain facts about his past escapades. Apparently his ex-girlfriend was Irish, had curly red hair, and left him for another man that she may or may not have met while traveling in Europe. I remember, at least, that their break-up had something to do with postcards.

The guy who planted those flowers is stalking me.