Post Road Magazine #28

The Secret Nancy

Nancy Reddy

The Dark and Handsome Stranger Mystery

He's been trailing her all over town. She hears
him just behind her on the sidewalk
walking home. She feels him watching her
as she scrapes the dishes clean. She can hear
the ghosts behind her writing. Nancy reads
the local papers, checks with all her sources.
No one's missing. No poisoned swooning
debutantes, no jewel thieves at the Mayor's
inaugural soiree. Nancy presses
her face to the glass. He's standing in her yard.

The Clue at the Abandoned Drive-In

She doesn't know his name. The ghosts won't speak
but urge her back again toward town, toward
a volunteer job at the local library,
toward spying even on a new and suspect
neighbor, Miss McDonald. Nancy knows
what good girls do, how they wear gloves to drive
and wash the dishes, wear slips and stockings
under summer dresses. She won't. She's off the plot.
Her stranger never smiles, never speaks. She feels
his eyes on her as she undresses.

The Sign of the Burnt-Out Streetlamp

Ned always was a timid thing, daring
only once to graze her thigh when Father
glanced away. But this man has hands. He finds her
as she's sleuthing and under lamplight fingers
her silk slip's ribboned hem. She's ready
for bed. He's below her window, waiting,
her flashlight now the beacon blinking yes,
blinking come. And when he mounts her trellis
and enters her window, when he lifts her nightdress—
she won't say no and won't be sorry.

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