21 December, 2005


Pale smooth linoleum
gives a blurred reflection of the cold flourescent lights
and the fan that spins too slow to matter.

The mountain of butts in the ashtray
and the chipped brown mug of cold coffee
and the post-card you bought next door.

Behind the counter,
and old radio crackles between this world and the next,
playing both kinds of music.

The stale bread of your tuna melt
and your ratty overcoat make you feel like James Dean,
but he wouldn't be so lonely.

And you leave your money
and you take your postcard, and a clean ashtray for your pocket
to buy your next meal.

And you fill out your postcard on top of the mailbox outside
"Dear family, everything is swell, lots of love."
because you don't want them catching the fever of promise.


There is a silver light on my paper,
right in the midst of this poem -
and there is a window,
cracked behind my shoulder.
And the warm spring is
dripping in.

I tried three times
to write this poem,
but none of the others
caught the sunlight.
None of them soaked up
the glow of solar love,
caught the catholic smile
beaming at us all.

So I enshrined the sunlight's kiss
on my paper
with these words
to trace its shape
and keep it
for you
even after the sun is set.