On the Fire Escape

An air conditioner dripped
Into our open cans of beer.
I crouched on a metal stair,
She sat on a lawn chair,
Eyes hidden behind black bangs:
Sometimes they blew
A little left or right
And I saw her shiny eyes.

She took me to a ladder
Which we could scale
To the rooftop
Like superheroes,
But if we fell, we’d die
In the scruffy alley below,
Where rats quizzically
Tried to read graffiti.
I felt both a fear of heights
And an urge to undress.

At four in the morning
We watched a man bicycle
Towards a floater in the river.
She picked the only pimple
On her smooth face
And told me how she punched
A creep in the nose
With the big, vintage ring
On her index finger.
I studied her nose ring:
It reminded me
Of the orbit of a planet.

When she told me
She worked as a dominatrix,
Screaming at powerful men
About their impotence
And homosexuality,
All I noticed were her shiny eyes.