Thoughts Over Dinner

She says she’s not ready to be

in a relationship right now. I don’t

understand that phrase –

Are you not lonely enough, not

wanting to be loved enough?

I have been drinking but

something in it doesn’t sound right, like

when my ears ring at night and I

keep it a secret, because

I don’t think I want to know why.

 

Dinner with friends is great because

if the conversation goes sour, you

focus on the food, and if the food

is ghastly you focus on the conversation.

That’s always important to me, to have an out, an

escape plan always set in mind. I left my friends to

go to the bathroom, I am desperately nervous, at all times.

 

We order the drinks, we

laugh the right laughs, we

hit a pause and return to the food. Everything is going

according to plan. I like this role, the

socialite, or the heiress, or the

star in the sky locked in a larger constellation. Being alone

makes me start to twitch, but

I work to keep my face perfectly calm.

 

A joke is told, the next

roll of thunder, laughter –

Sometimes I contribute after

thinking through what to say.

I like this, casual warmth, spring morning sensation;

my feet shake beneath the table but

my grin looks very good.

 

The Last Sunday in March

I have decided to rewrite the clock.

Scraping off the numbers at

half-midnight, or,

twenty-second September, or

the last phase of

the waning moon.

Failure has scrubbed clean the

markings on my calendar windows;

The day looks different in

empty white squares.

Sometimes my face feels strange, like

the things happening on it are

lagging,

the story I am telling

two steps behind

the tale as it happens.

Everything in my look suggests

the workings

of the past.

For months I’d avoided

the old haunts,

town square, schoolyard,

where people who

knew me once

would see me now

and know,

once more.

Every morning I find myself

missing the old faces —

not the names and speeches, but

the rounded chins and

square-framed glasses,

the sweat and sweetness,

silly innocence.

There was a time when

the whole world was my

best friend,

trees reaching out,

spring’s warm embrace,

flies tearing my ankles like

friends sat around a feast.

Things are happening in

starts and stops again,

moons for car headlights,

lipstick bleeding onto glasses,

the thrill of

posh restaurants

where I can’t foot the bill.

I am learning to take things

one day at a

time,

and the world is starting

to turn

again.

 

Sunday Walk

There is something inherently

sad

about Sundays, the way the week descends

like music

to its final notes.

 

I hate

that I am always walking,

considering

the distances like

theoreticals

in my mind.

 

I wonder if the snails should

pity or envy us,

the ease with which they can

tow around all that encompasses

their little lives.

 

Then again, we have the option to

leave home

if we’d like;

 

I wonder if they ever

yearn

for the same.

 

In my family home we had a

problem

with slugs, incessant intruders on

pink summer nights.

My dad would show us kids the way that

salt

dries their skin bare, sears out the life

from their collapsing forms.

 

My siblings and I would watch on

in wonder,

asking if maybe we

could pour the salt

this time.

 

Twilight sun between buildings,

caught across telephone poles –

light of changing, light of decimation,

the dawning of the moon, or the

turn

of a new planet.

 

An old love told me that life

was different

at night;

I can’t possibly stand

those kinds of sayings anymore.

 

Wet gravel gnaws at my shoe’s soles,

wearing me away

from the bottom up.

 

I used to like this feeling, the constant

walking,

scratch of sidewalks,

starry night.

 

Time

is slipping out from under me –

I’m beginning to fear I may

fall

off the Earth.