“It’s all coming down on me, sweetie,” I
and trace cold tracks
down his water glass.
The shocking steely rivulets
let go all at once
and spill down
and down
marking the path that may have been
the roads we took to get there.
How would I know?
We’ve been there a million times
and I can still just barely
find my way home,
past Grandma’s,
and the country store that sells horse
on a busy two lane road.

I look up and he is trapped
in a plastic coated menu,
his eyes are glued,
to eggs
and pancakes
and thick milkshakes
that might put on some weight.
He is skinny lately, like a bug.
Skeleton exposed, he crawls over me like
Kafka’s beetle
black and mysterious.
I feel the bones in his shoulders
and think how they would snap
beneath my knees
should I kneel over his face
and stay for a moment too long.
He tears from the page,
it is greasy, blue, and smells like
I think that I am stealing
weight from him
and stashing it around my middle.
“What sweetie, did you say something?”
I tell him I did, and that things are hard now, it’s all piling up.
“Well, that’s what you get for taking those
writing courses,” he says,
and flashes me Mr. Samsa’s grin.
The bones in his face
come forward under the light
and loom over his eyes,
they make mandibles of his jaw
as he smiles.
The waitress comes and I order my
he wants an omelette,
and it must be close to midnight.
“I didn’t take my lithium today
or the day before that,
really it’s been a stretch,
and I have all this work.”
My feeble giggle
strains his silence
and a dark brow lifts like Spock,
logical and true.
“I’m going to use the commode,” he says, his voice flat and barren
like the plains of some strange state, maybe Purgatory,
and I wonder if we might be there
instead of Pano’s American Diner
close to midnight on a Tuesday.

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