Handsome Women

I want to be like the handsome women

 wearing sunglasses in the wintertime


Won’t get coffee alone

book in hand all the time

like conversation lying in wait

not to happen


I can have those conversations, too

I’ll try not to let the glare be a problem



Hunched herself over with neverending fiddling hands. Most of the pieces are in front of her, but still. There’s a way to the sky, yet. Ideas can come too fast if you aren’t listening, but the leaves let fall hung in the air a bit too long and now she’s got her fingertips stuck with sap, the seal of a bladder creased down. It has to be big. Just how much would carry her? The little balloon she filled is trapped underneath the worn fishing net and sometimes doesn’t give her much hope to see it put up such a little fight. It wears the net more like a blanket than an itchy sweater. For today that’s enough. Her arms don’t like the pressing. She sleeps on the wind to come.

The fly buzzes as if he’s unheard. He knows his silence talks too much. There’s a word for it he can’t think of. She’s back to work by lanternlight, just too powerful to stay away. By the edge of where that pre-dawn sun’s breath can reach he inches forward. Her hand dips into the bowl of sap, then slides along the stretched insides. There’s a scale to it all he hadn’t been witness to. His buzzing, in all his carefulness, has gotten her attention. She waves him in, he thinks, but he can’t be sure. That word he can’t remember gets a little bit further away from him. She yells in the face of courtesy. He has legs willing to run and arms of his own that can do some of the carrying. That’s how the easy arrangements were made. Until midday his buzzing was replaced with dusty clomps by the bucketfull. Always that same bucket. He wonders if she’s moved, her neck arched like the wilting flower. There’s still vigor there, he knows.

The word has come back to him as that sun settles again. He’s traded in his buzzing wings for a hand that can reach out. With the lantern nearly burned out, she can’t help but right her neck, that offer so politely accepted. When her footing is firmed their shoulders bump. There’s a fit of the unexplained. She runs to the fishing net. Lifting it she makes careful to hold her initiation of the thought she won’t dare mention. She has to walk it over to him, near an edge she hadn’t taken the time lately to notice. His face, mostly hidden by the dark filled in the spaces left behind by the sun, can’t hide the eyebrows when they’re raised. She must grab his hand and place it over the floating ball to show him. He finds the word again.

Out underneath them swayed the lagoon they learned to swim in. Under warm light the lagoon offered the cool. From this high he could see it. He wanted something to offer back. Both of their hands on the ball, she nudges him in the shoulder where they’d first met. Over that lagoon above the water offered him a place where his feet could go untouched. That little balloon slipped away and in that fading light there was no way to know she was smiling.


Mechanical Minds

Warmth was the answer before, but that was just the result of movement. It didn’t mean anything, but it still felt good and was therefore perilous. When he made his toast it was logical. A spoon was a better tool for the job of scooping and spreading jam but she couldn’t kill him with one. He’d thought of everything. It was just like he knew it. He could talk forever about it. For these reasons she liked it better when they went out for breakfast. They could feel superior together, laugh at the Sunday morning drinkers who had to keep it going.

In There

You took the Beach Boys away from me in your car with your cigarette ash flicking off into the traffic behind us. You sang all the words. And you reached out to me with your oldies childhood. I wanted to be along just for the ride. Can’t we find a way for me to be a radio singer, too?

He wasn’t home but you found him going over his notes, practicing for when the opportunity for big speeches came. You interrupted him and all that got out were chuckled embarrassments. Too many drinks were convinced into him leaving space around the midsection for a little arm. You showed some giddiness in the way you sat cross-legged at the high table and talked with a straw just an inch away from your face. This was not about fathers any more than it was about babies. Two for one deals had expired such a long time before that the kid just wasn’t grown enough to be some lover. He was just looking for some time.

If the eight-hundred miles were billable you’d be getting the receipt. If I could separate my legs to solve the problems I would. You said you didn’t have the stomach for those kinds of jokes anymore. I’d already forgotten all about laughing when you drank my beer before leaving.

That Thing They Call

All that living she was doing. Didn’t have any of that time. Underneath applications were tickets to shows, a closet with perfect nighttime outfits visible through the half-opened closet door. Fitting herself in her purse before slinging it over her shoulder. Deciding against taxis and hoofing it. She could measure her impact underneath the peering buildings that way. The height just reminded her that underneath it all were basements where the space between two people was just enough to breathe and they called it dancing.