No pretty girl will come and ask to sit at my table.
No gazelle will walk back and forth across the room,
no madonna with little crosses in her sharp black eyes.
This is a world without women. Nothing feminine
touches this floor which is cold and made of stone.
No finely shaped hand opens this door which is steel.
We men talk among ourselves. Here there are boxes
and bells to tell us when to stop and when to begin.
Sometimes I go off by myself. I go down the dock
and inside the freezer a woman dances before my mind.
I see her auburn hair, her large brown eyes, fair skin.
I hear her. She tells me she has a son with my name
and walks from table to table in the little restaurant.
She asks what I am writing. I say you, Gail, are all
I am writing. Her son and husband have no place here.
I am on a forklift moving pallets of roast beef eyes.
No fragrance, no faces like wheatfields, only frost
on boxes and voices over a loudspeaker and beef smells
inside truck carts after the trucks have been emptied.
Blocks away women with big hair, backbone, and style
mingle in the lives of other women, other men. Here
on the dock hangs a grill that kills flies and bugs
to keep them away from the meat. And in the cooler
men dressed for winter and loneliness hustle and thrive.