(Edward Hopper, 1928)



Out-blown blue curtain,

a wall of lamplight, carpet

like new-mown grass.

In an alcove, a small room

lit red. A woman in a full slip

bends, maybe to take off

her stockings, her bare arms

and legs

.           the color of tallow.


On the block of my childhood

once lived a woman

who stood in her lit window

at night, her slip, ecru, her hair

Jean Harlow white-blonde.

Stay away from the window,

Mother warned. Men will think

you’re like her.

.           I was ten years old.


Some nights I put on my mother’s

slip, the lace straps slipping off

my narrow shoulders, the hem

puddling over the linoleum

.                       like a nylon river.

What are you doing? Mother calls.

Get in bed and don’t make me

.           come in there.

I cut the light,

.           but stand at the window.













Rochelle Jewel Shapiro (@rjshapiro) is the author of Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster, 2004), which was nominated for the Harold U. Ribelow Award, and just reissued as a book and ebook. Shapiro has published essays in NYT (Lives)Newsweek, and more. Her poetry, short stories, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in literary magazines such as The Iowa Review, Poet Lore, Los Angeles Review, Entropy Magazine, and Gulf CoastHer poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and The Best of the Net. Shapiro currently teaches writing at UCLA Extension. For more, visit