AT MAMA'S ROYAL CAFE
No silk scarf is tied across your lips,
and your pale mouth is stiff
as if you pressed it near an ice-
block of air. I sit in the red booth
across from you, feet bent under thighs
as I wait for you to talk to me.
Outside the cars are on holiday.
The tires have stopped their slide
to make one blowsy spot on the ground.
Even their headlights are off
without protection from the night
for this is the morning after.
And this is a world of mornings after
at the white tiled counter top,
the time of debate between the years
and minutiae, and I am swirling the cream
in my coffeecup as I think about
the accidental lives in my life,
the accidental dreams in my dream.
But in a dream, the books say I'm only
revealing myself to a transient
self, the one who meanders and strays
along the poorly chosen streets, doorway
to store to wallet to mouth. A car
shoves its body across the street
as the driver threatens the air, and in
another conversation I hear the nighttime
hiss of a couple who seldom spoke
until their sudden escape of words began to sound
like those widening O's at the movies,
the owners shocked at their broken through
mouths. Sometimes I can almost taste
that lunge of possibility, the way your joke wisped
along the path of the cigarette you talked to,
the way smoke entered your lips and then mine
like the frail wind which blew past the corner
till tree after dark tree went down.