Smashing a cigarette to charred soot, you peer
at me alone lonely considering my approach.
You seem affable, eager to make small talk bigger
which is why I slide into your side of the booth.
Unprepared for this seduction, I rise and move
the table between as a barrier which helps me
stay balanced and remember why I came here
when the GPS begged me to recalculate.
Winehouse wails in the jukebox and we dance,
a thick pathetic sway reeking of broken promises.
My desire soon smothers between our bodies;
while we sleepdance, the desperation rages.
Peeling myself from your wooden chest I say,
“I wrote the note” and you grin at me knowingly.
You watch my heart thumping through my dress.
Hungrily you eye the roses blooming and shrinking.
It’s true they’ll be flowers delivered in days to come,
but none will pulse bloody like these cartoon roses
trying to leap from my dress to dirt where they’ll fade.
Tawdry lights laugh as my palm betrays my wrist.
Gold bangles move away to expose it, a lover’s offering.
Ready to open myself, I feel your ice steal my spine.
The numbness comes and your frame absorbs me.
Times before in this moment a litany unleashed itself,
reasons why I couldn’t wrap my flesh onto your bones,
fold over the paper doll tabs and meld into the silence,
propped up in a striking pose and smiling for eternity.
Each time I ran from this list, it chased me hard through
ballet classes over stage bridges through dark churches,
past classrooms where 2400 students called me Ms.
and over empty cradles where my babies would sleep.
It tackled me near Avalon and pinioned me in waves
of guilt and regret that slammed me to my knees salty.
And sweet cinnamon lured me to the kitchen counters
of pumpkin muffins I coaxed to rise from autumn leaves,
into concerts with Legend-ary pianos and Marooned me
5 miles from lost song lyrics hovering over naked pages.
People hogtied me with the litany until the words wound
taut about my chest to hold the broken things in place.
In case I might free myself, the litany tattooed the words
onto the inside where they could only belong to me.
They carried banners and paraded through my veins in
high-hatted marching bands strutting across my heart.
Collapsed on the checkered floor I heard bass drumming.
The neon lights pulsed along and the litany words raised
Braille under my skin since I had lost sight of tomorrow.
I stood to snap my clutch and smooth my flowered dress. Knowing you’d always be waiting somewhere for me, I left quickly before you could re-invent the scene. Shoving my weight into the ancient oak door I felt a momentary rush and the sun was waiting just outside.
Dana Kinsey is a writer, actor, and teacher with poetry published by Yellow Chair Review, Broadkill Review, Writers Resist, Spillwords, Fledgling Rag, Silver Needle Press, and For Women Who Roar. Her prose appears in Teaching Theatre and Tweetspeak. Dana’s play, WaterRise, was produced at the Gene Frankel Theatre in Greenwich Village for the Radioactive Women’s Festival. Visit www.wordsbyDK.com.