The Death of Head and Leg
Two girls walk beside a house whose blinds are lit
at three in the morning. They walk talking the world
of a guy they just met and how beautiful
the stars remind them of him. But they can’t pin
how stars can be a man of thirty.
They can’t hold a star and pull its shirt
over its head, drop its pants to the floor
and say good morning. And in the morning
would the star be there for bacon and eggs
or a quick shower? If it is,
what color would its toothbrush be?
And just as they think they know
how a star can be a man, they are too far
from the house to see the lights turn off.
Inside, a couple is tossing sleep
out the window and cursing. They think
the dark can hide the yelling better than silence.
But the man can’t sleep because of his leg
and how it wants to run to the couch and watch TV
and the woman can’t sleep because she knows
the leg wants other legs to be around it.
And since her legs are closed after hours,
she believes that couch is code for someone else,
someone who believes in stars and things
on TV. So she yells her hair off her head,
makes red mounds of her eyes, and grasps
his leg, the calf of it, with nails digging
for couch, until couch is out of leg
and sleep is shoved in the man. By then
it is six in the morning and the man is forced to dream
that he is far from the house and that his leg took him
to another couch to watch TV. The difference is
his dream wife has a leg that wants her
to run to the couch too. Together they watch TV
and compare legs. She even shows him
her hands. They are the kind that calm legs down.
They soften his thigh and he forgets the TV.
They pull his shirt over his head and drop
his pants to the floor and the man believes
he has special hands too. So he feels under her clothes
for the leg, to soften her thigh like she did his,
but the leg in his hands goes limp and detaches.
It bends at the knee and he pushes it back
to the stump at her hip. He pushes it harder
and wishes to leave, to go back to his wife,
but she is dreaming of a life without legs.
So he waits for her, like a star waits
for the lights to turn on.
Marco A. Domínguez
is originally from California and is currently
studying at Texas Tech University. His poetry has recently appeared in DIAGRAM,
Indiana Review, Rattle,
and elsewhere. For more information, visit his website: