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Dad and the Gypsy
by Lucille Lang Day

My dad has fallen for a gypsy woman
with olive skin, red nails, and shining eyes.
Her kiss at Safeway took him by surprise
as he studied the label of a soup can.

She said, "I'm sorry to hear your wife died.
We ought to go to dinner and a show."
That sounded good. Although he didn't know
who she was, it was easy to decide

to write his number on a slip of paper
and hand it to her. The next time they met,
they saw Showboat and shared a banana split.
"I'm an interior decorator,"

she said, "and I've designed three hotel rooms
in Reno. Let's go pick up my check.
We can share a room—a king-sized bed, deck
and kitchenette—just like a bride and groom.

There's just one thing I hope you'll understand.
I need to borrow some money from you
before we leave: fifteen thousand will do.
When I get paid, I'll give you thirty grand."

Dad replied, "Ask them to mail your check,"
but he wanted to hold hands and kiss again.
He loved her leopard dress, dark hair, smooth skin,
and thought her crystal ball might bring him luck.

For dinner on a moonlit night in June,
she cooked shrimp, and he brought chardonnay.
She said, "Dick, I don't want to dismay
you, but I need an operation soon.

She showed him a cigar box filled with cash.
"I have thirty grand, but the docs want
twenty more." He loved her jasmine scent,
but caught a sudden whiff of rotting fish.

Her messages don't ask for his forgiveness.
He hasn't answered yet, but he still yearns
for all the little things one never learns
to do without: red nails, a leopard dress.

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