The Elevator Is Out of Order

Charles Simic

Grandmothers and their caged birds
Must be trembling with fear
As you climb with heavy steps
Stopping at each floor to take a rest.

A monkey dressed in baby clothes
Who belonged to an opera singer
Once lived here and so did a doctor
Who peddled drugs to wealthy customers.

The one who let you feel her breasts
Vanished upstairs. The name is not familiar,
But the scratches of her nails are.
The bell rings, but no one comes to open.

Old man, with a face powdered white,
You caught peeking out of another door
As you were descending in a hurry,
Who did he expect to see if not you?