roberta allen | yellow

24 10 2007

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Poetry Dispatch No. 116 | October 31, 2006

Here’s another chapter/poem/story/minimalist fiction, etc. by Roberta Allen whose writing yesterday, “Blouse” brought resulted in so many fine comments. Norbert Blei

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YELLOW by Roberta Allen

The doctor is on call one night a week in Amsterdam, otherwise he lives with his wife and children in the country. He is already half drunk when the woman enters the disorderly apartment he keeps in town. The rooms, painted bright yellow, his favorite color, are filled with drawings and prints, books and musical instruments, mementos of his private world. He tells the woman about another girlfriend, makes her jealous, though she doesn’t show it.

“She gets a rash each time she gets a job,” he laughs. “Last week she was distributing leaflets on the street, got fed up when the rash broke out, threw the leaflets into the canal. A co-worker saw her, told her boss. As soon as she was fired her rash disappeared.” He laughs again. “That girl is allergic to work!”

The woman pours herself a drink. The man refills his glass. The doctor is quite drunk by the time he receives an emergency call. “Come with me,” he tells her. She is accustomed to this routine. “Another old woman who wants someone to hold her hand,” he says, annoyed. He drives, swerving through the streets until he finds the house, goes upstairs while she waits in the car. “Just as I told you,” he says returning a quarter hour later.

The woman is glad he is not her doctor, but when she recalls the yellow rose he gave her once, picked from his garden, she knows she belongs in those yellow rooms, that private world, and other thoughts disappear.

from THE TRAVELING WOMAN

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