Poem: "Unwise Purchases" by George Bilgere from Haywire. © Utah State University Press. Reprinted with permission. Unwise PurchasesThey sit around the housenot doing much of anything: the boxed setof the complete works of Verdi, unopened.The complete Proust, unread:The French-cut silk shirtswhich hang like expensive ghosts in the closetand make me look exactlylike the kind of middle-aged manwho would wear a French-cut silk shirt:The reflector telescope I thought would unlockthe mysteries of the heavensbut which I only used once or twiceto try to find something heavenlyin the windows of the high-rise down the road,and which now stares disconsolately at the ceilingwhen it could be examining the Crab Nebula:The 30-day course in Spanishwhose text I never opened,whose dozen cassette tapes remain unplayed,save for Tape One, where I never learnedwhether the suave Americanconversing with a sultry-sounding desk clerkat a Madrid hotel about the possibilityof obtaining a roomactually managed to check in.I like to thinkthat one thing led to another between themand that by Tape Six or sothey're happily marriedand raising a bilingual child in Seville or Terra Haute.But I'll never know.Suddenly I realizeI have constructed the perfect homefor a sexy, Spanish-speaking astronomerwho reads Proust while listening to Italian arias,and I wonder if somewhere in this teeming citythere lives a woman with, say,a fencing foil gathering dust in the cornernear her unused easel, a rainbow of oil paintsdrying in their tubeson the table where the violinshe bought on a whimlies entombed in the permanent darknessof its locked casenext to the abandoned chess set,a woman who has always dreamed of becomingthe kind of woman the man I've always dreamed of becominghas always dreamed of meeting.And while the two of them discuss star clustersand Cézanne, while they fence delicatelyin Castilian Spanish to the strains of Rigoletto,she and I will stand in the steamy kitchen,fixing up a little risotto,enjoying a modest cabernet,while talking over a day so ordinaryas to seem miraculous
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