Table for One at the Sunset Bistro

December 29, 2017   •   By Noah Warren

This poem appears in the LARB Print Quarterly Journal: No. 16,  Art

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The check curtains, the tiny shakers
of olive oil and balsamic

shiver in the strong slow draft.
A plate of muscle floats to me.

If “there will come a time when even heroic
actions seem to follow lamely

on their consequence” it may be
in the stunned aftermath of hunger,

the mind piecing itself together.


Nothing is more poignant to me
than two houses staring at me

at evening,
and the sound of the wind.

The sound darkens with the light

and I could assemble arias
of detachment,

I could hang each note like a hook
in the whiteness of my mind.


There’s a story of the man who wore his face

drawn into a mask of calm —

he walks a few streets again and again,
smiles only when he sees the flock

of cherry-headed conures
that roosts and chatters in the date palm there.

Their thick beaks sprinkle small seeds.

Midnight I sit to work, my work evolves
like rubble beneath my fingertips,

I hear the middles and ends of so many songs.



Noah Warren is the author of The Destroyer in the Glass, 2015 winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize.