The Curve

A long slender branch
cut across your cheek
It left a swollen scratch.
Luminous pink with tiny beads of blood.

I traced your outline
on the pavement
with chalk.
You let your eyes go flat.
I let my mind go blank.

We filled your space with leaves
and clover flowers.
I snapped the branch and placed it
where your cheek was cut.
The curve of a short smile.

The second bus
goes across town.
It takes us past the shipyard
where your grandfather worked.
It takes us home.




They bury the men, when that time comes,
and it no longer matters how many hours they worked
or the days they spent
in anxious uncertainty

And we never know the fantasy that pursued them
from childhood through to wizened stoop,
the miracle preservative that could break the mirror
and scatter the rats of life.