Saturday, February 7, 2009
A belated Poetry Tuesday comes on Saturday.
Vietn is over halfway to Vietnam
Mirrored walls reflect our hands, these crumbs,
a camera, our waiting poses at Baoguette,
this paper towel left on flashing silver counter space. I find
- my face perhaps presciently drawn - a paper towel drawn upon
by a girl I've never seen. Or have seen now.
Her hands reflected, too. Did her hands just now
prepare my iced coffee, inexpertly melting the plastic cup
with the heat of fresh-dripped brew poured too hot
over sweetened condensed milk?
Did she step, abandoning youth
and napkin drawings, taking only the knit hat she wears
(wearing being the most effortless sort of taking),
to the other side of the other counter?
When we entered as customers, blind - and before we existed as such-
did she remain for a moment as artist and fortune teller?
Bright herbs crunch in clumps, fresh bread cradles catfish,
a heat fills me. Mirrored walls shimmer and bend.
I am reflected towards, reflecting on
that country she began to spell under her hat
with the work of her hands. Around me,
unadorned napkins crumple with spicy sauce.
Plastic cups crumple where heat met ice.
Noses drip. Sandwich fillings slide. Have we made a mess of things,
Vietnam? Next to me, Eva's sandwich wrapper passes judgment,
mirroring my reflection.