As she came up the steps
she saw him through a window
and stopped. It was embarrassing
what I’d convinced myself would happen.
He called it a speech—
a medium-security vessel
for transporting thought across dim borders—
but nobody would know that when he started.
The days in the next room let loose
like they’d been saving up,
pounding out perfectly intelligible catastrophes
from rimless yellow words
spoken through six feet of foam rubber in Los Angeles,
natural and unhappy in a wet diaper.
Is this really what you wanted,
a square at an angle and groan-shaped capitulation?
Take it, then, and go back to your prismatic ratios.
Light reflects off the hood of a car outside onto the ceiling
and bounds from rafter to rafter as it parks.
The crowds keep moving,
and sometimes you recognize
not an exact person
but some relationship among the shapes in his appearance
or the movement of skin over his jaw as it forms words
in a conversation you could never hope to follow.
Shattered, you look down and notice
lenses embedded in the ground around you
robotically pivot toward the elevator doors in the distance
as they slide glamorously open
to reveal a swirl of water
glittering with diamonds and tears.
Copyright © 2013 Paul Killebrew
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.