A new role in a new town

What Martine had learned in acting school over the summer,
about tone, emphasis, inference,
is all useful in the con —
herself as charming, consoling Ms. Real Estate Agent.
Martine’s clientele — flush widowers
wanting to sell the family home,
move to a manageable apartment.

Walking through the properties,
noting brand name dresses hanging in wardrobes,
pearl necklaces lying on bedroom dressers,
a diamond ring in a no longer used ashtray…
Martine tries not to grin, show her hyena teeth.

She lets two – or three – months elapse…
then when the widower’s out on the golf course,
or hospitalised, in for a hip replacement,
or wintering in Florida,
Martine disables security cameras, alarms, gains entry.
The clean sweep of valuables fills a laundry sack.

In her Winnebago, Martine recounts the stack of hundred-dollar bills,
turns up Pet Sounds on the stereo.
When she flies to Istanbul in a week’s time,
it’ll be under a new name, Delphine Mansfield—
soothing to the ear, suggestive of pedigree.