Standing, waiting at the door
yet unopened and
wondering who this time
will answer his ring,
he remembers and remembering
feels his pulse increase,
his breathing quicken.

A form moving behind
the curtained glass
(lavender print with lilacs)
opens narrowly the door
revealing in the crack
her face, thin, wedge-shaped,
eyes wide, almost frightened.

Seeing only him and relieved
she opens wide the door,
turns almost contemptuously,
a "Come in" thrown carelessly back
over a shoulder grown
suddenly proud, perhaps cold,
but he enters hesitantly.

"At least," he thinks, "inside."
Following her body which to his eyes
seems somehow taut
with some suppressed rage
and closed in upon itself
as though she could walk
in a fetal position

past the room where Andrea
(quick smile, flashing eyes)
sleeps and on weekdays lives
into her own bare but
somehow comfortable room
with no chairs or even bed
but only a mattress on the floor—

The walls—papered with posters,
poems, letters, memorabilia
of her life—and candles
lend a bohemian air
to her surroundings, fitting
well with her gypsy lineage
and also disposition.

Her smile is fleeting,
hesitant, unwilling to trust
itself to any onlooker.
Her candles defend her
not only against darkness
but also against light
in too great intensities.

She fears being seen too clearly,
being known too thoroughly
and wraps herself in mystery
as in a coat (blue, quilted
with tiny flowers on one side,
reversible) and bares her soul
only in writings kept private

He enters with bravado
covering concern more anxious
than love or even hate
and finding no way to open
the conversation ungently
hopes instead like the sun
upon a bud to open it by mere presence

and perhaps warmth.
She neither accepts nor rejects;
she only finds it hard to open,
and the persistence of his presence
begins to wear on her soul
like an abrasive—very irritating.
"You bug me," she says and

smiles to show she doesn't
want to mean it though she does
and hopes he'll forgive her
but understand and leave anyway.
The first he does but not the second
being in love but not with her.
He asks instead, "What's wrong?"

She herself not knowing
answers nothing but only
hangs her head, hiding behind
her hair (red highlights from henna)
but otherwise very dark and long.
He understands again, shifts
to neutral ground

in order to enjoy an otherwise
uncomfortable visit, and soon
they are laughing and talking
forgetting their problems,
forgetting their differences,
forgetting perhaps too much
lightly, unseriously

touching one another not at all.