the fewer the better

I see him in a diner   indoors

but always outside   the table

set with a red-check cloth and

an empty dispenser for serviettes

in front of him a glass not quite

in his hand rests for a moment

the ice quiet   cradling sunlight

a dash of nicotine cirrus thin

above the fallen crown of his hair

behind him a string of false stars

offer nothing but distraction

the geological beauty of his face

weary as time in a desert


all our lost lugubrious saints

huddled under the shoulders

of ash-flecked jackets   distance

in their whisky sour eyes

from nights spent sleepless

everwondering on what was

and what has been lost

lips thin on the endless cigarette

mouth paper-creased from

old laughter   a slow chuckle

that shunts through the chest

and   when it comes to words

the fewer the better

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