I step onto the sunporch & ring the bell.
It is still early; she guards her body
behind the door and pulls away the bolts.
She knows who I am, takes a brush from my hand,
& caresses the bristles as I enter the house.
I ask if she has tried our skin cream.
She says no, so I lather her with it.
I demonstrate the spatula, brushes,
combs and cleaner as we glide across
the floor on her well oiled spine.
I try to sell my seasonal items,
but her husband calls down to her for coffee.
I gather my goods and straighten my tie.
Stepping into the street I realize:
I have sold her nothing.
Stuart Dischell is the author of Children with Enemies (University of Chicago Press, 2017), as well as Good Hope Road, a 1991 National Poetry Series Selection (Viking, 1993); Evenings & Avenues (Penguin, 1996); Dig Safe (Penguin, 2003); and Backwards Days (Penguin, 2007). Dischell’s poems have been published in journals such as The Atlantic, The New Republic, AGNI, Slate, The Kenyon Review, and in anthologies including Essential Pleasures, Hammer and Blaze, The Pushcart Prize, and Good Poems. A recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, he teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at University of North Carolina Greensboro. He is a contributing editor of AGNI. (updated 4/2019)