Once a month, sometimes three nights a week,
she came out to the courtyard
in her pink, taffeta nightgown
with the torn hem, a bottle of discount wine
in her hand.
We watched, waited for the performance
to begin. On the best nights, the moon,
waxing or waning, lit the flagstones
like a spotlight, turned her face
whiter than pale.
Her broken monologue always came back
to a married man who left his wife for her,
a son who “od’d” and blamed them both
for “the needle tracks” in his arms.
She spun with the bottle, an awkward dance,
sang snatches of a sixty’s folk song
about hippies with flowers
in their hair…. Our sins seemed small,
little things next to her ritual guilt,
as we looked down from our narrow windows,
green shutters we bolted with an iron hook
after she went back inside,
laughing, crying, blaming
About the Author
William Miller is the author of twelve award-winning children’s books, a mystery novel, and eight collections of poetry. His most recent poetry collection is The Crow Flew Between Us (Kelsay Books, 2019). His poems have appeared in The Penn Review, The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, West Branch, and Folio. He lives and writes in the French Quarter of New Orleans.