I’ve seen hopeless yin-yangs with fine women

for Gretchen

and every time the phone rings I hope it’s for me but it hasn’t been I’ve fixed my bicycle done my laundry made my bed and here I am at home alone with a fever in the winter wondering if it’s my fault or if it’s nobody’s fault that petting the cat doesn’t make me happy It only makes me sad I’m making dinner for myself What’s wrong with that? I love myself as I love my neighbor In fact I do very well I cook I sew I dust clean vacuum and mop I even wash the windows Nobody has to take care of me I have a good job I’m talented and I’m handsome What am I holding out for? Who am I fooling? Who’s to say? I’m beginning to suspect that 90 percent of happiness is pure chance It doesn’t matter whether you try or fail It doesn’t matter whether you’re good at what you do whether you’re smart or whether you’re dull whether you’re sexy or whether you’re persistent or any of a hundred random qualities I’ve fought for what I am and I’m proud of myself but what good woman has it brought me? I’m lonely I don’t mind admitting I’m lonely I’m even sick and I’ve been sick all weekend with no one to talk to I’ve tried to be good I’ve tried to be patient but it isn’t easy and every time the phone rings I hope it’s you.

6 December 1985