Norma Chapman


Tuesdays and Thursdays, on my lunch hour, I sell
Militants for the Socialist Workers Party at 14th and F.
On Tuesday, a drunk man watches me for a while.
He moves closer, and he asks me to marry him.
I'm already married, but I think about it before I say no.  

After work, I stand in front of the Holloway Cafeteria
across the street from the porno shop, waiting for my husband.
A man in a limo stops and crooks his finger. I'm 41 years old,
overweight, in a shapeless dress. He can't mean what I think.
I shake my head, and he moves on. I tell my husband
I may have been mistaken for a hooker. He doesn't hear me.

After dinner we go to party headquarters. My husband picks
up his Militants to sell on Saturday. I stay to enter debits
and credits in the party's books. The party is teaching me
to be a bookkeeper. Every member learns a useful trade.
When the revolution comes we need to be ready.

On Thursday, at my corner, a man sits on the steps behind me.
He says I'm Bear's girl, and we ride on his motorcycle
in Montgomery County with me hanging on to his belt straps.
I know I live in Arlington, but I see myself with Bear. I don't tell
my husband this. My husband sells his Militants in a tough
part of town. To fit in, he wears blue jeans, but he irons them.

Norma Chapman started writing poetry after turning sixty.  Her poems have appeared in Passager, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Iris, The Sow's Ear, and River Styx.  She received a 2003 Maryland State Arts Council Grant.  Norma lives in Brunswick, a small town in Western Maryland.



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