The lady at the counter says hello and
asks what I want. The look in your eye,
I would reply, but say, Whatever.
She seizes the intonation, my age and type,
the look in my eye, the store,
the light through the window,
the computer’s hum, her life…
and after 2 1/2 seconds enquires,
The word drifts through the air,
through the glass door,
into a street busy with passersby.
Its absence carries a shadow.
It’s only skin deep, she said.
Let’s run through the debris.
One for you, one for me,
two for the children (hair full of rust),
three potatoes and barely more.
Let’s drink to old times,
to love and dust. I place my hand
upon my heart (needle in a bloodshot eye),
and swear to forever, to the fish
in the sea, and I lie.
These are the tiny hours
looping through hollow, tunnel,
through a bottomless pit, when mice
scurry back to nests in the attic.
My eyes are trussed and yours,
wolf-glint and close, pearls of
light in shadows. A taste of blood,
of rust – my tongue is limp.
I try to swallow. A Boeing’s drawl
fades to a tick. The clock in the kitchen –
a tireless soul. Les me seep…
Something is floundering back
to a source, a ship listing
miles offshore, a lady waving
her scarf ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’ or
something terribly more.
If you release the piece the board will be played.
Is it the queen or your fingers that tremble? It’s been snowing
since dawn. If you loosen your grip the lady will turn,
a stranger in a revolving door. Every entrance will be
an exit, A drift has formed on the bridge of your nose.
every exit a mortal wound. You wipe it clean
before you go. A dismal choice, black as crow,
your banner and crest. A flurry or two will erase the tracks.