Roses on My Table, and Nothing in the Fridge
Time to eat, she says,
and sheds the day, in the doorway,
kicks off her practical shoes,
and drapes herself over the table, narrow and tired,
filled with hunger.
Oh, the table yearns for more than meager roses,
sweet as they are, and I suck the flesh and breast blushing
against their petals, a feast that fills the mouth, but never the belly.
We eat little, and slowly,
chewing on each other, swallowing ourselves,
rubbing our bones together for heat,
until at last we resign ourselves to night.
Oh, the bed yearns for more than these few hours,
sweet as they are, and I am greedy, dreaming
of diamonds put to usefulness, rather than adornment.
Time to rise, she whispers,
shaking me loose from sleep, hitching our yoke to daylight,
and tugging me into the street, where we lunge forward,
pulling at the sun, dragging the hours, shouldering impossible weight,
The hum of the highway, the damp hours crumpled and bunching in our hands while we
for the parade to begin, balloons tied to wrists,
for trumpets to come ambling down the street,
revelry rushing behind, at first muffled like water,
carrying elaborate floats and classic cars like
a river, but then of course, the sounds separate,
split into streams and eddies,
whistles and shouts,
the local 85 flinging candy into the crowd.
After, the shriek of gulls at the county park, the hours drifting to the ground, out of hands and pockets, landing near cigarette butts and joints, while we
with our uncles, union proud to a one, hands dark with axle grease and motor oil,
Ford and Chevy parked along the road,
beds filled with empty cans of Strohs,
children and dogs,
and dry pine logs,
for the coming night’s fires,
our vigil kept until mothers and sisters,
of whom are no few midnight nurses, gas station clerks,
gather us in their hands, mine saying,
“It’s time for me to go to work,”
and off to bed we stumble,
hours and balloons long since loosed from their thin strings,
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Header Image: Creative Commons, photo by Shawn Hoke.