“You’re too timid,” he said.
“I need someone daring.”
He picked up his suitcase and handed her the key.
Later that evening, she chewed up those harsh words,
Spitting them out like the taste of bad candy.
She had drinks at a dive bar then drove down to Mexico,
Tossing out caution like confetti in the wind.
Once there was a boy with a cage instead of heart,
an empty enclosure to capture and keep.
He filled it with birds, rocks, and overheard conversations,
at a loss when it all
brought no meaning to life.
Then one day the door to the cage was left open,
the boy tired of the routine
of bait, wait, and trap.
That’s when a word,
entered the cage
and wove him a heart.
“Guess how many jellybeans there are in my heart?”
She tossed out the challenge without much of a thought.
Two could play this game so he answered immediately.
Not one more,
Nor one less.”
Her throat coughed up a laugh covered in pectin.
Then she tossed up a jellybean, smacking her lips,
swallowing it whole.
“Nice try for an amateur.
But it’s 214.
And every single one is nasty black licorice.”
She stroked the back of his neck
where the hairs met the collar.
“You must be getting tired.
We should stop soon.
I heard there’s a great motel
at the edge of Reason.”
He turned to smile at her,
the ghost of a relationship stuck in his teeth.
“Just a couple more hours.
We’re almost to the center of Gravity,
Halfway to Paradise.”
His eyes returned to the hypnotic lines of the highway.
She sighed and offered no response,
Never having been a halfway kind of girl.
I have a dilemma.
It followed me home last night on a haphazard trail of
dropped hints and lost opportunities.
And now it perches at the foot of my bed,
eyes the size of rare second chances,
Serenading me with a nonsense song in a voice
raspy with lost cause.
I will buy it a leash and train it to beg.
September is at the end of an evening
sitting on a stool at the neighborhood bar,
The shutdown of nature’s grill,
Chlorophyll scrubbed off leaves,
Yellow, red, and orange residue left behind.
Last call for insects, birds, and butterflies to down their dregs.
Bottletops screwed shut.
Cabs called for migratory patrons who stayed too long.
Neon lights whisper sweet nothings to the night.
October, as bartender, flips the open sign to closed,
Signalling an end to summer’s night out.
Walking a dog is like following life on a leash.
The path is familiar but there is constantly something unexpected to bark at or investigate.
And when you return home,
It is to a wondrous place,
The likes of which you have seen before
And probably will again.