DREGS

"Because I was feeling stagnant," I thought to tell you.

"Because this is home now, and I'm never at home for long."

I drove in the afternoon, took the fast road that makes you

Nervous. On that thrumming conveyor belt

Your hands always plead with each other;

Wringing against the cracked lines with impatience.

"I hope you know," you told me, class ring of '69 worn proudly

On the hand that took generators apart for twenty years.

"That you never have to leave."

I knew.

We used lip gloss for blood and I tainted my knuckles on the tips

Like peaks of mountains with no snow, just anger beaten out

Against a resistant surface.

We danced in the dim light, moving cautiously at first

Before we remembered how good it felt.

The boys hovered but never approached.
I would have given any of them a chance if they had

Just joined in.

The Morning After's first sip of coffee was scalding so

I swallowed quickly. It burnt my throat on the way down

And now I can't taste anything anymore.

I found gloss on my lip, a dried layer over dead skin.

My knuckles still smelled like face paint and I was dizzy,

Driving down the empty river of interstate in the darkness.

I never decided whether last night had been a good night

Or just an inevitable one.

I felt resolute in the solitude downtown as I picked up yesterday's mail this morning.

Back there, back home, the sun stretched through the creases in the clouds.

There was fog, stagnant in the air over this place.

And I crossed the bridge just before six a.m., knowing that the sun

Just wouldn't come in that day.