Midnight Exigent

Now on the keys of this machine
you rest your hand,
the blinking space of the first code-line
mocking your furrowed brow.
Children run past, brushing your knee.

Laughter.

The scent of rain and smoke invades,
and is lost.

A flash of hair wreathed in sunset,
a pickup truck,
a dog licks your palm.

You are in love.
You are alone.
You are watching your mother open her presents.
You are leaving on the 9:40 flight.

(Was it on a beach? Or a dirt road?
The waves… were they water? Or wheat?
Was it my father’s voice, or my daughter’s hand?
I can’t seem to– wait! Her kiss! Was it?
What did I want to… be? Who?)

You are leaving on the 9:40 flight,
under the weight of such a wild and particular gift
from the universe.

And a clock is such a heavy thing
compared to lovers
in a dance entwined…
or to the boy.

Was there a boy? You’re almost sure of it-
in a bike helmet and a bedsheet cape,
thrusting a wooden sword,
crying in defiance welcome
against the spilled-out midnight sky,

Now drain your whiskey,
and admire the slow burn in your belly
as you say “Yep, coulda been…”,
only to hear the other old men fire back
“Aw,  bullshit!”;
because you know,
somewhere,
they’re pulling at the same strings–

as beside the same still waters,
thy cup runneth over.

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