Look over your shoulder for the hustle of words.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

at the traffic lights

at the traffic lights, i will stop with you and wait.
the amber and the green will hang, unstuck in time.
the dirty city whirring everywhere we stand
and through us, too.

a crooked man will try to sell you flowers
pulled in handfuls from
some cheated housewife’s garden.
this will be awkward, for
a month ago you would have gingerly smiled
sideways at me and pressed a five dollar note
into his hand

and then, wiping the foil that they are wrapped in
you’d have given them
to me.
i’d have made a show of being shy.
though, not really bashful but proud as a hen,
my tail feathers bristling and rocking
because you loved me.
because i was arrogant in the brine.

but now we’ll wave the man away.
my phone will ring, and we’ll both startle like
pond herons with their silence ruptured by a truck because
my phone still bears the hallmarks of court-ship.
a shared song.
we shouted it from the floor of our lungs,
in the early hours.
our faces smudged with joy,
our bodies bent around each other on
your lumpy mattress.
temporary vessels housing something useless.
something transcribing across us
our teeth ripping at the throat of giddiness.

the lights will take too long to change.
finally we’ll surge forward.

i’ll wonder what we shed
onto the concrete as our bodies move
out of the smirking past.

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