by Rita Dove
She liked mornings the best—Thomas gone
to look for work, her coffee flushed with milk,
outside autumn trees blowsy and dripping.
Past the seventh month she couldn’t see her feet
so she floated from room to room, houseshoes flapping,
navigating corners in wonder. When she leaned
against a doorjamb to yawn, she disappeared entirely.
Last week they had taken a bus at dawn
to the new airdock. The hangar slid open in segments
and the zeppelin nosed forward in its silver envelope.
The men walked it out gingerly, like a poodle,
then tied it to a mast and went back inside.
Beulah felt just that large and placid, a lake;
she glistened from cocoa butter smoothed in
when Thomas returned every evening nearly
in tears. He’d lean an ear on her belly
and say: Little fellow’s really talking,
though to her it was more the pok-pok-pok
of a fingernail tapping a thick cream lampshade.
Sometimes during the night she woke and found him
asleep there and the child sleeping, too.
The coffee was good but too little. Outside
everything shivered in tinfoil—only the clover
between the cobblestones hung stubbornly on,
green as an afterthought . . . .
Rita Dove teaches creative writing at Arizona State University. Two of her books, The Yellow House on the Corner and Museum, have been published by Carnegie-Mellon University Press; a third volume, Thomas and Beulah, is due out in the fall. (1985)