By now the cigarettes have all been kissed,
the gossip, strewn about the room like rags,
the pasta, long forgotten. Outside the traffic
on Gregson Street streams endlessly into dusk,
tossing its litter into her yard: condoms,
Melissa tells me, now they even throw condoms.
We are sitting on the floor, talking of novels
and doubt. Up close her knees reveal
thin blue webs I am always surprised to see:
she is so young, at fifty, her mind, so nimble
and compassionate for the children she never had.
I wonder how her body can betray her.
Refilling our glasses we sway, lean into each otherís
stories, until at one point she stands, or tries to,
and it is as slow and sad as the planets,
this wonderful drunken woman rising and sinking
to the floor like some great luminous bear,
settling back to the carpet with such force
that I see a little shiver in the Chablis. I try
to take no notice, swimming through my words
with the same dull strokes, but after the second time
she groans, and makes it, and wanders off
to the toilet ten feet away in her own house,
all I can see is gravity, crossing its legs.
is a native of Mississippi but currently lives in Cambridge, England,
where he is a graduate student in archaeology.