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
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
the nun’s narrow room.
she dreams next of her family palazzo
the upper wood corridors, eighteen
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
here this is no desert she opens
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.