The Tired Typist

Longing for her black Bösendorfer, she felt the banging of the deaf on velvet-footed hammers.  Fingers poised on the cramped black Underwood, striking keys through six carbons, each letter pitched differently, no need to look away from Igor’s crabbed hand (the apples between his legs belonging to her alone).  Not his best work, too closely mapping the disappointments of an academic who cleans windows, really, a rat run.  Why would a young girl’s lips remind him of a pale green anemone, he must have read that somewhere, what does he know of the open sea, that swarming wet shelf of life?  White hands ruined, she smokes, drinks coffee the color of tea, all the cigarettes and coffee she wants, a samizdat typist of samizdat books by samizdat writers.  Another party tonight in Greta’s small steamy apartment, they will drink cold potato vodka, gaze at the dry stalks in her garden below, someone will read, someone else fall in love.  Behind her, Igor’s boy, a lost boy from the street, works the handpress, woodblocks (by Igor’s ex-girlfriend) to be tipped in.  Hired hands with thick spatula fingers—of course the police know what is going on, after all, Soviets do not work long hours—under blinking dimming lights, the gnashing teeth of the bindery, smell of glue, the chain of idiots like an ooze, one corporate body of thinking, boozing, laboring selves hemmed into a book. Fluttering onionskin, crowded margins:  the girl with unlikely lips sings like the sea.


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