Reservation for One

I suppose you can’t hold the table.

When I was young
the clinking glasses and silver
were diamonds tinkling
against my new skin-
Learning to stretch, to dance, to leap-
always learning how
to use this new thing that is me.
My hair, the dense forest,
cascaded in waves down
gaunt hillsides-
That hour is passed.
Thinning now, and dry
it cracks like desert mud
forgets where the river ran.
My traintrack spine
missing sleepers and spikes
with sleeplessness for thinning ballast-
The years pass like train cars,
in blinks:
a job, —
an apartment, —
a relationship, —
I inhale fast
and glance furiously at my watch.
Oh, good.
There’s still time.

I head out to meet my reservation
into the tangled mass
of furling boulevards and back-alleys,
Streets twisting and contorting,
obscuring their corners
I step deliberately
like Jack climbing
a multitude of woven stalks
looking for his one giant.
I find directional flow,
and passive valves,
and hawkers on corners,
Backstreet tyrants
with hands like freshly-sawn ham-hocks
And my table is around any corner,
Every corner,
and none.
No one understands me
as I plead for directions
I scrutinize signs
printed on walls and billboards,
spray-painted in dark corners,
signs written in the skies.
I glance at my watch.
I thump its face
a poor attempt to change its mind.
The hours thin
like the light around me
I begin to grieve:
my time is almost up.

Will they hold it for me?

I stumble now, sober
But footless like some
career drunkard
waltzing with the ghosts
he drinks to avoid

Who invited me?
I can’t remember.

Who told me there was a table,
And I could have a seat at it?
Who told me I could bring something
to the Great Conversation,
Or make some meaningful connection
Past ham-salad sandwiches
and the exchange of goods and services?

I finger through the scratched phonographs of yesterdays
Back to the beginning,
But I can’t find the song or album I’m looking for,
not in this light.

It’s okay- it can wait.
There’ll be light enough at my table.
It must be around here.
I must be close by now,
I’ve come so far….

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