Tell us a joke and we will laugh and laugh,
buy you a drink and introduce you ’round.
You may look askance at our coats of fine velvet and raggedy edged denim,
our feathers and wool and cameos dulled from too many smokey rooms,
but we lean into you and smile,
like we are the oldest and dearest of friends,
and your quarters walk across our knuckles all the night through,
your astonishment and applause never less.
And then the sun warms the sky and teases your hot and heavy eyelids into unsticking,
and the fading colors confuse you,
and you are alone in a far place on a stone bench,
the pale water washing in and out below.
And your stomach aches and your head and heart too,
and you know you’ve lost something,
but can’t reach out and grasp what it was.
And as you crookedly hum parts of a song you can barely recall
the tears are near the surface now,
as the sun drifts higher in the sky,
and an idle breeze sounds like laughter in your ear
and you turn your head as if to catch a glimpse of…
disappearing into the last puddles of night.
And you drag your fingernails down the patchwork velvet waistcoat and tug the lapels on the gaudy old jeans coat a little closer,
and wonder what it will take to persuade the water to carry you,
and where it is you want to go…