20 January 2023

Tinder Date, Part 1

Just let me grab my keys
and I'll be on my way.

When I arrive,
I'll just use my reflection
in the storefront window
to make sure I look human enough:
pressed slacks;
inherited loafers;
compression garments
underneath the fanfare--
the overt performance and
exaggerated presentation, i.e.
Urban Decay on my teeth.
I'll shove my keys into my pocket,
look for you in a crowded room.
Maybe you'll flag me down.
Maybe your cool, sweaty palm
will meet mine in an awkward shake,
like we are striking an unspoken deal:
I'll promise to be polite,
if you promise not to kill me.


Note: Inspired by a friend's true story, recounted and embellished with her permission.

18 January 2023

Tinder Date, Part 2

Teeth are a good place to salvage DNA, you said, a bit casually.
I did not know at the time if I should have come up with an excuse
to leave the date early, or if I should have kept listening.

Maybe I should have taken notes while listening
to those true crime podcasts, interviews with seasoned investigators,
throats pitted and scarred from cigarettes and coffee acid.

Maybe I should have stayed up late with Grandma,
process, in earnest, Detective Hercule Poirot’s observations--
each carefully-coated in Murray's Superior mustache wax--
even if his silver-screen depiction was missing the gravitas to keep me awake.

You noticed that I was suddenly quiet. You stirred the soup in front of you.
Speaking of teeth, yours are very nice, very straight, you stated,
because you were hoping to break the silence, fill it with your voice, again.

I excused myself from the table.

I think that bistro is closed now. It’s too bad. They had excellent bread.


Note: Inspired by a friend's true story, recounted and embellished with her permission.


06 January 2023

Disassociation, 1936

He broke open
her mouth,
burgled the secrets inside
that were hidden behind
little teeth. "There you are,"
he said, triumphantly,
but she was actually
nowhere. She was gone,
far away from there,
with eyes
scanning across
so many scattered
flurries, ash
in the sky.

06 December 2022

After Proverbs, 9:1

I.

A very long time ago, Wisdom had built herself a house -- and after, she tended to her garden, while ignoring the neighbors' chatter. "Weeds," this. "Overgrowth," that. "Can't even see the porch," one always complains. 

II.

Every day, the ivy clings close to the cob, and loose leaves dance, make shadows against pale shutters. Wisdom just hums quietly to herself, finishes her outdoor chores by taking a broom to her sidewalk, so that the path remains clear for any visitors. 

III.

No one talks of the seven pillars. They don't hold much fascination, these days. But one neighbor says the peonies look really good this season. "They look fine every season," is all Wisdom replies.

05 December 2022

Wednesday morning, Bucyrus

You didn't finish your eggs that morning.

You left them to dry into small yellow pebbles

on your Dixie plate.

That's fine.

Food goes to waste all the time, in any home.


When you warmed-up the car that morning,

you forgot your gloves. 

The chill prickled each exposed hair,

every tiny freckle, 

as punishment.


But cigarettes are worth it.

A cigarette run, that's worth it.

So the car is barely warm and it rattles down to the drive-thru for you.


The girl with faded tattoos, 

various traditional ones in blacks and reds,

blurry and swollen, 

greets you with your usual pack.

Her hand is warm with two-dollars' change.

You may have graduated with her, 

but you aren't sure. 


Your conversation is the same each time, 

and each time, she tries 

to persuade you 

to buy a couple

of Faygo Redpop, 

or something or another, 

because they are for sale. 

Two for one, she says, 

plainly. You reply: 

Maybe next time.


The little sedan stumbles 

back home for you,

parks tiredly, and you exit 

with your treasure,

your soft little prize.


The kitchen table awaits.

The eggs are just 

as you left them, and

that's fine.

Such is the way of life 

for these mostly-empty paper plates,

scattered works of art,

claimed by entropy, just like it is

in any home.