by A. Gagliardi
Squeezed butt cheeks so tight that no sound comes out,
tales told over wine and cheese,
bartered vignettes - revisit the episodes of our lives.
I laugh at something she said that reminds me
that my mother is dying -
reminds me that my child will never finish high school, let alone college.
The pie slice of cheese slowly disappears,
stifled yawns because no one wants to go back to
empty rooms in empty dorms of summer college.
Stand against the wall with leg pain racing up one then down the other,
smile at the thought of tomorrow’s conversations
and connections created -
your neighbor - my daughter’s new job.
Face red as new sunburn,
trying not to glow neon.
Hot flash drips dew down her back.
‘After effect of red wine’, she says, noticing my noticing.
Night calls dreamers to bed
the crowd dwindles quietly,
secretively as if they don’t want their leaving to be apparent.
Clear plastic glasses half full
reveal the progress of the night’s exchange
Good to the last drop.
Tell my story without spitting through my nose,
listen so hard that I don’t think of what I am going to say next,
try not to be too clever, too funny, too opinionated
Feeling included for the first time in forever.
What does one poet say to another?
The cracker plate sits empty save crumbs relaxing.
Darkness has edged into the room -- the night yawns.
Lowered tones of conversation
listen for heart beats and sighs of knowing
we are all in this together.