Sunday, February 04, 2007

"a mess worth making."
//david mcnayr

a modest fortune of small change,
values and presidential likeness
smudgd over by cinders
in a japanese sushi dish ash tray;
he lies supinely in my bed,
on the blankets, never under,
and when i go out of the room,
i can hear him rustling,
rolling a cigarette, shavings of tobacco
spilling out from either end of the
gummed papers into my sheets,
my pillow case, my bedside water glass.

i stand outside the door
and listen to his tongue
running over and over,
his fingers twisting knots,
twirling his opposable digits,
the ones that built the pyramids
and the panama canal
and one or two of the space shuttles.

i imagine standing
in front of the mirror tomorrow
morning, little brown slivers
of turkish and blended
stuck with sleepy dried sweat
in my eyelashes, mustache,
and mixed in with the dandruff,
especially problematic between
december and mid-march.

i imagine going into my bedroom
with a stick of red lipstick,
a can of purple paint,
and a box of styrofoam
packing peanuts, saying
"if y'r going to make a mess,
make it a mess worth making."

but instead, i empty the
electric pencil sharpener into his shoes,
sitting in a puddle of melted snow
on the newspaper by the front door.
and i leave my cats sniffing the
graphite dust as i bring him
a steaming mug of green mountain
french roast, the ceramic glaze
seared with a single phantom
out of the kiln; he lights a match
and it sizzles as he puts it out
in the mug i hand him.

"what's that about?" i ask.
he drags slowly on the cigarette, saying
"there is no story here. it is only you and i."
the smoke curls up to the ceiling,
past my nose and unavoidably into my lungs.
many first-hand testimonials concerning
second-hand smoke would like to
paint me a victim but it shouldn’t
make much of a difference in the long run.
I don’t have many guests.


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