All About Rosie
Whenever I imagine Rosie, she is always
up and down the stairs of her building,
out to Little Italy,
mingling with the famous people
who aren’t quite famous yet.
The pink record player is on full blast
in the living room
as she washes up last night’s dishes.
Horns sound like the traffic below.
A blind man tickles the ivories
so that they sound like ice clinking.
You can barely hear the flute
over the splashes and running water
although Rosie swears it’s there.
Just you wait!
Rosie always wears what we call vintage,
red belted dresses that fit just so over slim hips,
stilettos that won’t break.
Her blonde pixie cut’s never mussed by wind.
She spritzes the smoke-filled rooms
with White Shoulders.
She is a real Size Ten.
When Rosie is working,
she sharpens pencils,
hits carriage return on a not-so-old manual,
serves coffee to the men from Detroit,
engineers who will play Jazz for the Space Age
on the latest hi-fis.
One day Rosie must have married
and then left the city.
Maybe she married my piano teacher
who lived in a cottage by the lake.
I can imagine her
tidying up the studio of her husband,
straightening the framed program
signed by Dave Brubeck.
She quit smoking. Or she didn’t.
The music in the clubs became
the music on her husband’s stereo
became the music of your life
became the standard that this
plump girl in purple sequins is singing
at the piano on the memory-care ward.
Once again Rosie’s a real Size Ten.
©2014 Marianne Szlyk
Marianne Szlyk is an associate professor at Montgomery College, Rockville; an associate poetry editor at Potomac Review; and a member of the D.C. Poetry Project. Her poems have appeared in various anthologies: Of Sun and Sand, [Insert Coin Here], Something’s Brewing, and Storm Cycle 2013. Other poems have appeared in Jellyfish Whispers, Aberration Labyrinth, Linden Avenue Poetry Review, The Foliate Oak Literary Journal, The Ishaan Literary Review, Tophat Raven, Napalm and Novocaine, and Walking Is Still Honest. She will be reading her poems at this month’s Performetry: Old Poems, New Poems, Your Poems at DC’s Bloom Bars.