The Woman in the Booth
For David Blumenthal, M.D.
by Kathryn Maris
There is a woman in a ticket booth
who lives in my left ventricle.
Her job is a bit boring, so she brought
a small T.V. in there with her
and even built a shelf for it.
Sadly, the reception is bad
and the only channel she gets
airs Italian soap operas.
But all day she is lost,
slave to grey fuzz and two silhouettes
that are inevitably having arguments.
Sometimes she doesn't even notice
the customers, mostly children
one must look down at to see.
When they are ignored, the kids
are hardly unhappy, and shrug off in search
of another, less dated form of entertainment.
Who needs a carousel ride, after all,
thinks the man who operates it
in his frequent moments of self doubt.
When no one wants a ride, he sneaks
a cigarette where the boss won't look
and the carousel lies still and he's
relieved of its multi-hued nostalgia.
Sometimes, when he returns, he gives
the thing a hostile whirl and the plinkety
plinkety plink goes damaged and surreal.
I feel the pauses and spins, I feel
the falling-down on the job.
And soon the tunes are jazzy if inharmonious
and the children are inventing rude lyrics,
and there is irony in my heart
where before there was none.
I miss the old music, steady
and sentimental though it was.
But in getting used to the new,
I am getting to know
that where there is beauty
there is also boredom,
and where there is boredom,