June 26, 2003

Saying Yes To A Drink

What would a grown women do?
She'd tug off an earring
when the phone rang, drop it to the desk

for the clatter and roll. You'd hear
in this the ice, tangling in the glass;
in her voice, low on the line, the drink

being poured. All night awake,
I heard its fruity murmur of disease
and cure. I heard the sweet word "sleep,"

which made me thirstier. Did I say it,
or did you? And will I learn
to wave the drink with a good-bye wrist

in conversation, toss it off all bracelet-bare
like more small talk about a small affair?
To begin, I'll claim what I want

is small: the childish hand
of a dream to smooth me over
a cold sip of water in bed,

your one kiss, never again.
I'll claim I was a girl before this gin,
then beg you for another.

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