Have You Ever Been That Woman?

Have You Met Miss Jones?

by Charles Simic

I have. At the funeral
Pulling down her skirt to cover her knees
While inadvertently
Showing us her cleavage
Down to the tip of her nipples.

A complete stranger, wobbly on her heels,
Negotiating the exit
With the assembled mourners
Eyeing her rear end
With visible interest.

Presidential hopefuls
Will continue to lie to the people
As we sit here bowed.
New hatreds will sweep the globe
Faster than the weather.
Sewer rats will sniff around
Lit cash machines
While we sigh over the departed.

And her beauty will live on, no matter
What any one of these black-clad,
Grim veterans of every wake,
Every prison gate and crucifixion,
Sputters about her discourtesy.

Miss Jones, you'll be safe
With the insomniacs. You'll triumph
Where they pour wine from a bottle
Wrapped in a white napkin,
Eat sausage with pan-fried potatoes,
And grow misty-eyed remembering

The way you walked past the open coffin,
Past the stiff with his nose in the air
Taking his long siesta.
A cute little number an old man said,
But who was she?
Miss Jones, the guest book proclaimed.


  1. Bellissimo! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I enjoyed this... and I think I have been this women, but maybe not at funerals.

  3. Hm. That's interesting. I've never been this woman, but I think I know how that feels.

  4. I've definitely seen/met Miss Jones, she was at my bmf's funeral and I refused to acknowledge her there.

  5. I don't know that I've ever been "that woman." Don't think I'd want to be though-especially at a funeral.

  6. I know Miss Jones and have compassion for her. I saw her in a bar in New York City in the 1990s and remarked to my friend about her but he said he'd already sized her up. She was aging, now in her 60s perhaps, still very beautiful and alluring.....but that was fading with each cigarette she smoked and every to-many in the lounge.

  7. I'm afraid I will be this woman...someday at *his* funeral.

  8. hmmmm. like something out of a 1940s film noir.


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