a finger wrote your name
out on the counter of a bar,
skin dragging water, leaving

nothing but droplets and the
faint wetness of desire. no one
else ever wrote it out again, perhaps

nobody else knew. i still do not
know your name. even lips
cannot trace water once it has left.

all i could see then was your face outlined
by lamplight, everything else was smoke
and clinging clothes, hair sticking

to sweaty necks and laughter ending
awkwardly like a song stopped midway.
there can be no forgetting that night

because there is nothing to remember.
i still do not know your name and
already, i am starting to forget your face.

there will never be the brief closing
of eyes as memory shifts like water
on the counter of a bar, fingertips pressed

to my temples, fingers snapping in the air
like a magician’s as he plucks a coin out of
a little boy’s ear and never the pleasure

of having you at the tip of my tongue.

(For Arden)

Montage Vol. 9 • February 2006


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