by John Riley


The woman who lives on the first floor once loved dancing naked for her lovers. Now she is acquainted with winter days that never turn from gray. The girl who lives in the apartment above never sings when her lover visits. When she is alone she sings with a voice that clings to its lightness. When the lover leaves he hurries down the stairs and the door of the old apartment building bangs shut and the woman on the first floor stops her chores and sits at her dining table with two chairs and waits for the girl to sing.


The young girl who lives in the white room cannot remember when she last loved her lover. She remembers the nights they made love and how afterward he fell asleep and she watched him sleep and smiled at the way his girlish lips made a pout as his breaths blew in and out. She knew he was dreaming and would not remember the dream the next day. Now the love has left and she can remember those nights but cannot remember loving him. While he sleeps she reads through the night and thinks there is nothing so selfish as sleep.