We frittered our conversation away
on the brittle edges of selective
vocabulary. Words, pale and objective,
hung like sheets over clan members,
hovered foamy on the pushed tide
of pretense and squatters rights.
Familiarity was the carcass
of a wooly mammoth
we were stepping gingerly over
with verbs and run-on sentences.
In this public place, where once
we had whispered over flapjacks,
flirted around a breakfast scramble,
we met in a back booth
to discuss the terms
of our convenient disentanglement
above a final waffle
dusted with powdered sugar.
Some maple syrup got stuck on the
edges of papers we were so civilly editing
and for a moment we slipped
on the softened ice of easy banter.
Just then, gravity
forgot itself in the small café.
All of the cups and saucers
lifted with the silverware,
the apron on a waitress
floated up a bit…
Whipped egg whites of reconsideration
appealed with a weightlessness,
but the side of regret
His fingers were 10
oil-stained paint brushes,
soaking up turpentine
in a mason jar.
His fists were crumpled
Pall Mall packages,
banked from the lip
of a waste paper basket
and collected on the floor
in cellophane clutches.
His neck was a damp bar-towel,
half twisted and slung diagonally
across a red-vinyl stool.
His jaw was a swaying screen door,
finding its true level on a set of hinges.
His cheek bones were the curtain-brushed sills
beneath open apartment windows.
His eyes were not the iron marbles
bouncing off of bumpers
and racking up pinball points.
His forehead wasn’t a smooth
gallon-jar of pickled eggs
set beside the cash register
and his feet were not a needle’s movement
after one side of an album.
His legs however,
were the long rails of green felt,
hugged by an eight-ball,
all the way into the corner pocket.
This place gallops
in layered altitude,
humps in crested waves
of rugged stone,
pitifully breaks in sprays of boulders
unrolling through low valleys.
It wears the shadow of a cloud
for mile after rearing mile
with the carefulness of asbestos lace.
Most savagely, rakes it’s willful stubble
against a vestal sky;
misbehaves on shelves
of ingrown cliffs,
balances water in the stubborness
of succulents at impossible
It lords over the grim
Joshua trees living among
their own bleached corpses,
twisting gnarled arms outward