The Kindness of Strangers

Here I am with all my flaws
seeking form and shelter.

I blanche at the notion
of violence, but it’s coming

after us, closing in like a
superstition I can’t shake.

If I acquiesce to your harsh
future you must promise me

one thing. Where we go we will
find our youth again. Can you

see it there under the yellow linen
tablecloth? I’m depending on it.

More by Sally Van Doren

April

I chart the psyche,
observing how I 
force myself to speak
to you, imagining that
together we might
transform a life.  

Why this need
to document change,
to reverse a mood, 
to carry forward the time
when magnolias bloom?

Let’s follow the itinerant we
up and over the jonquil's back,
treading on its spilled bullion.

Call Us

Let's use our nicknames
When we apply for this next job
Even though it's past our bedtime
And our current paycheck
 
Can't shut up the muse
Who mewls at the dinner table
Begging for a crust of bread
To sate the nightly terrors.
 
For they come, don't they,
Leaving empty spaces numbers
Are supposed to fill. Buddy
And Chip loaded their coffers
 
Before the hard freeze.
The ice burns our tongues
As we swallow prosperity
One parched drop at a time.

Thief

I remember the hour
you stole time from me

and here in these late pages
I try to collect back

the kisses in the parking lot
that erased my history

next to that green F-150
when you became my future.