I am fighting the urge to wrestle
the knife from his hand, the feather
style hair, the back of his wrist
as it glides along my cheek. Through
town, I remind myself out loud
that I loved this place once
I left. His eyes are steel rails,
his eyes are gutters full of fall.
His eyes are pretending
to hold me and I am pretending
to go along with it. Someone
in the room has studied foreign language
and someone in the room now has dread-
locks and braids intertwined like a collection
of bad subplots around his trunky legs.
His children pay no attention
to the thunderous weight of his movements.
I remember his high school glory,
the sweat sticking his hair to his forehead
as the helmet spun shadows on its crown
under the screaming stadium lights.
Pot roast belly, the rain was a reminder
that life went on no matter what
I ate at the diner. Today is a short order,
spinning around on a ticket carousel
flapping in the wind. Mashed potato
brain, gravy spilling out my ear.
I fall against a shop window,
then across the sidewalk
into a parking meter
with only two minutes left on it.
I catch myself in the window
of a blue sedan, my reflection
wrapped up with jowls
of a barking spaniel. Thankfully,
he does not recognize me.
I leave my long greasy fingerprints
across the window and the dog
tries her best to lick the scent
from the other side.
When I called her,
she’d been making love
to the moon.
You could hear them both
rinsing themselves in sighs.
Okay, I told the driver,
here is good. I thought
I’d take the pint glass
as a gift. It was empty
and just needed washing.
Good as new.
I walked up the hill
and heard that repeat
the one that begins
because of a haircut.
It had grown so dark
that the streetlights
couldn’t see their own
My bike was locked
to a tree in the park
at the top of the hill.
I left it there and thought
about where I could find
The Same Tattoo
They found him buried alive
under a pile of ham and cheese croissants.
He had begun trying to eat his way out
but he was vegetarian, so he’d just
as soon suffocate than eat swine.
The cheese he had no problem with.
It was a rustling mistaken for wind
that first alerted the neighbors:
there must be someone in there.
Everybody on the rescue team:
firemen and eagle scouts,
rotaries and volunteers
from the mayor’s re-election campaign,
met one evening a couple weeks after
he was home safely, eating nothing
but what grew from the earth.
(He gave up on the cheese.)
They met at the café early,
and waited all day for their turn,
blood pumping indiscriminately
just below the surface.
Copyright © 2010 Michael Haeflinger