Although my Tongue has Forked no Lightning

by Victor D. Infante

I cannot reconcile this pantomime of ghosts:

the way yesterday's bag-of-bones punk sneers
in his knock-off leather jacket, Marlboro
dangling from dry lips; teenage knuckles cracked
where bone juts from broken skin;

the way the quiet-as-a-desert child
clutches comics in the dark, words
percolating behind his lips, absently
reaching for his dead father's hand;

the way the actor spills his self
into cheap beer cans, until he is empty,
curls fetal on his bed, unresponsive
to the woman whose hand is on his shoulder.

the way the thin-breathed poet recalls
twenty-year old phone numbers of crushes,
forgets last names of girls he's fucked;

the way the whisky speaks snake venom
the serious lit major pretends isn't there,

the way the sake becomes a proposition,
the way the cigarette becomes a prayer.

the phantom cast lingers off stage right,
shuffles its feet, heckles the performance
disapproves of the choreography
clamors for cues.
I'm reluctant to give.

Last updated November 12, 2022