Sign of the Times

Her mouth fell in slow motion to the floor,

lipstick and all.  Pulled

itself into a greasy puddle –

bright red on cobalt.

His words flew into her ears,

beat their blackened wings

and pecked their bloody beaks

into the right side of her brain.

And somewhere in the not too distant future,

telephone wires spit electric invective

and slapped their tails against an icy wind.

Just another day in the supermarket,

she thought, bowling a cantaloupe

down the aisle of broken dreams;

shattering the salad bar;

wrapping her legs in a frantic tango

around the thigh of All You Can Eat.

Anything but the ice flow on his side of the bed.

Anything but the dust bowl on hers.

She pushed her cart over the ruts in the highway

until she got to the gas station on the edge of town.

She sidled up to the pump that said Hi Test,

closed her mouth around the nozzle,

pulled the trigger and filled up on 10 Items or Less.

He watched her from behind the counter,

coffins in his eyes, and sharpened his knife

on the bony head of his only child.

The neon sign in the window said Last Chance.

But it didn’t say it for long.  Still … he thought

she saw it when she turned and looked

past ghosts and worms and coffins –

looked until his clothes shriveled

and the manatee swallowed sunlight;

until doves flew through waterfalls

and old men played Parcheesi in rubber

suits and won.

“Yes,” she said to the watery eyes

in the bony head of his only child, “I saw it.”

Then she picked up her lips,

put a quarter in the cave

of the tall woman with no hair

and followed the echo of her high strung heels

into the fearless dark of her heart’s content.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.