Grit in Your Eyes by Stephanie Valente

It happens when the subway leaves. The long legs, short little heels and calf-grazing skirt. She’s done up: thick eyeliner, baby blue eyeshadow, a bob straight from Milan or Florence. She could be sweet. She could be venomous. She reaches into her quilted bag, thumbing for a case. But, still she walks. Up the steps with purpose. She clutches the little pouch in her palm. Is it a pillbox? A set of keys? The wind licks through her hair by the subway entrance. Honey blonde. You don’t mind the leisurely stroll to work. You’re salaried. Late is an adjective. She has wide shoulders and a narrow waist. She looks athletic. You imagine her a ballet dancer; she never went to college. You think of her with a messy bun and caked kohl and hot pink lips. You think of her laughing in a crowded apartment with other nubile legs and muscular arms. You think she dreams of Paris. Her nose points up a little too much but you still think she’s pretty. Your wife wouldn’t mind. She is wearing one brown glove, standing by Union Square. You are still watching the blue shadowed blonde. You think you know all of her dreams. A secret housewife or just a bored housewife. Lonely little dancer. She puts on a brass ring and catches your eye. A languid smirk. She holds your gaze, as if to open her mouth. She lifts a waif wrist. The air kicks up, full of spring and promise. The city grit gets in your eye. Look away.

Stephanie Valente

Stephanie Valente

Stephanie Valente lives in Brooklyn, New York. One day, she would like to be a silent film star. She is an assistant editor at Yes, Poetry and the fashion editor at Greenpointers. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from dotdotdash, Nano Fiction, LIES/ISLE, and Uphook Press. She can be found at

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