The East Village

Jo Ann Wasserman

She resolved to regard this image of her own grief as a vivid fantasy And she shut the door behind her she pretended to be worried she immersed herself in household tasks she left on the 8:38 train she took the baby away from the nurse she brought her in when there was company concerned that it was not good enough for company or no one wants to hold her you are just like the daughter of old (blank) the fisherman from (blank) said the nurse she was shattered and sobbing and everyone worried she took it as a stupid insult resolved to make the train the child became the sole object of her resentment, oh and the household tasks it wasn't so much the household tasks she learned first to make spaghetti sauce for fancy company on Thursdays she was driven to the morning train satisfy cravings for (blank) or (blank) and instead of trying to put it out of her mind she cherished it, to suffer, never missing an opportunity to be worried it was the way the child curled round the nurse which ultimately provided the peaceful lament not so much the nurse herself or the way that the nurse had special ways of accomplishing tasks for instance she boiled and ate squirrels caught in the park which worried the father and was unsightly if ever their was company but it was the child not crying for her or something about how she would say to the nurse, "I must make this train" which was a recrimination not the train but the child's face like a pinwheel circling the nurse and she bit her lip and left for the wrapped parcels and new silver shoes her favorite were stillettos she saw a small nightgown with embroidery a task to conjur up the child, be suddenly transported to the child's company like any mother she saw she could buy this small nightgown but she worried was it too small the child's dimensions uncertain she worried had she seen the child sleeping in a nightgown? she boarded the train she knew she must not worry a small nightgown would be sweet for when there was company how could she know if the child wore nightgowns it was the damn nurse who dressed her and added special scented flakes to the laundry performing her tasks learned to make new dinners like chicken with apricots, thinking of the nurse, "I will get rid of her" the child loved her nurse and worried as she left who would do all the washing and household tasks? but the mother stopped taking the train to Lord & Taylor or to movies no one spoke of the nurse except, years later, to tell the story of the squirrels, as a joke, to company