by Michael Bazzett
She took the pink eraser out of her purse and went
to work on his face—not the features so much as the dark
crevasse in his brow and the knowing set of his stony jaw.
Her wrist hinged smooth as oil under the fluid gestures
moving like the head of a charmed snake over his cheekbones
softening him so deftly that on a sudden impulse she added
the barest smudge of a dimple, framing his mouth
into something that suggested a coming smile: What is this?
he murmured once she’d slipped the pink stub
back into her purse, disguised as lipstick. What is this I feel?
The smile of a boy flitted across his face then vanished
as a thunderhead toppled from the summer evening
flushing the asphalt streets with such rain
that if you stood in the rivering gutters, your ankles
would be kissed with cool water while your soles
pressed pavement warmer than blood—that is when
the man walks into the rain with neither umbrella nor overcoat
and you cannot tell his crying from the downpour. Inside
she looks into her handheld mirror, drawing her cheeks
taut as she once again wields the slender eraser
and with two swift strokes removes her mouth.
Last updated August 21, 2022