Cafe Pantoum

The bell rings, another customer.
Smile plastered in place, I look up;
another hour, another dollar.
The things we do for love.

I look up, smile plastered in place,
How was your weekend?
The things we do for love
aren’t always comfortable.

How was your weekend?
“Mostly we just slept.”
–something not always comfortable
to admit, with your lover working beside you.

Mostly we just slept,
but there’s still tiredness under my eyes,
even with my lover working beside me;
it’s like a forced march into tomorrow

with today’s tiredness still in my eyes;
another eternity, another dollar.
Like a forced march into forever:
the bell rings, another customer.

still life

i slept last night in our bed alone
cramped tight against sweat-
smothered pillows and wrapped up
in winding-cloth sheets
wilted like the flowers you left
on the kitchen table a lifetime ago,
lily petals sagging and baby’s
breath crumbling to ruin
amidst a jumble of empty glasses and
yesterday’s neglected news;
this morning even the coffee smells
lonely.