Broccoli menacingly pierced
by delicate tines. Lips a perfect red.
The heat of the candle
burns his nostrils.
Chicago winds hold him aloft.
A conquistador with a gold watch. She laughs.
“Your appetite for gin makes you look like an asshole.”
Gus chuckles and chokes on his dinner roll as Ron fidgets
with his napkin. Susan just seeks comfort in the bottom of her wine glass.
On stage a trio plays barely audible blues, notes breaking
along the coastal cliffs, swirling in the shoals
of the barstools
and the booth tables.
It was a legitimate question, he tells himself,
an understandable misunderstanding.
She smiles at his loss. His urbane nature and wit
exposed and worthless.
The shrimp pasta turning cold on his plate.
“I’m afraid…” he stutters, looking past her.
Outside the summer heat infuses the night with despondency.
Her fork is poised to strike inches above the plate.
the length of her fingernails.
He stops. Gus gazes at him with dying hope.
“I am having a garage sale this weekend,” Ron interjects,
gingerly sprinkling pepper on his baked potato. “Taking tomorrow off.”