The Morning Climb*

They do not know that I am watching,
These suited men and summered ladies,
Plumbing the slow elevator’s climb.
Timing their smiles to my calibration.

I have seen duller elevators than this,
And deadlier.  As if life sucked dry
By the morning could not make it
Past the fifteenth floor.

Today the small chat drops, delicate, down
To the sandaled floor and makes me dream
Of beaches.  Their beaches.  Fire Island.
The Hamptons.  The Jersey Shore.  They
Talk of their weekends as tall cool lime-drinks
To be savored slowly.

The bones in my ear envy
That clink of ice; refuse,
However, to hear.

*Published in the Berkeley Poetry Review, 1976.