everything was muttered
with an air of annoyance
like a Get the hell outta thereI gotta go!
the kind of intolerance and ease
that comes only from family
even the most mundane questions
(The tomatoes fresh? Where's the post office?)
were answered in ecstasies sounding like
It's your birthday, it's your birthday, it's your birthday!
words were ice cubes melting on the tongue
a sultry day's slippery comfort
until they left
ribbons in an unexpected breeze
they spritzed lemon-drop phrases
hard pellets to be savored
tapping molars, eardrums
joyful voices shielded any attack
relishing syllables as morsels, flavors, textures
even at the back of the throat
like delicate ice cream swirls
too pretty to coat with sprinkles
not to taste.
Imagine them bared by shorts: stretched,
crossed on a sun porch's chaise overlooking
some lake at sunsetwine glass on knee, half emptied,
teetering with every deep breath or inflections
that stress ideas flowing easy and easier
upon each swallow, imperceptible degree of darkening.
Or on those cobbled roads, meadows treaded alone
in meditative stride or rushing off toward some goal
(espresso, bus, a book from that shop before it's closed)
or destinations unknown: the wrong lane, coincidental meeting,
a glimpsed scene or image for his poem. Or a man
of meaningwith keen imagination, eye for thighs.