Dubai by S. Neugebauer

the venetian princess of dubai


lucia, trailing spouse, hepburn svelte

tretchikoff pout, alone at her ceiling-to-

floor endless window

watching the facing tower’s

desperate sky-hung washers

young men

with squeegee, soap, and swaying

red buckets, descending by only

a harness of helix,

steely rope madness

she looks away—thinks

what would they give for the comfort

of convent,

the nun’s narrow room.


she dreams next of her family palazzo

the upper wood corridors, eighteen

square stuffy

rooms each with warded lock

skeleton key humming in mamma’s

pocket, her single brass bed, sown at low

tide, close to the chilled marble carpet

her inheritance this chipped speck

terrazzo, same cut as the salute in venice—

health—she remembers now—

her need to get out, the nothing to do

how the cicadas had suddenly dropped

on the boughs beyond her shuttered window

half-masked by moss pelt.


she pulls her eyes from the floor

thinks of her grey husband, the flight to

new life

here this is no desert she opens

her blouse

may the washer men

or may they not

see her swinging too.


BIO: Samantha Neugebauer is an American poet living in the UAE. She is an Associate Instructor at NYU Abu Dhabi, editor for Painted Bride Quarterly, contributor to the podcast Slush Pile, and staff writer for Postscript Magazine. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the NYU Gallatin School.

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