DECEMBER 29, 2017
This poem appears in the LARB Print Quarterly Journal: No. 16, Art
TABLE FOR ONE AT THE SUNSET BISTRO
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
and the sound of the wind.
The sound darkens with the light
and I could assemble arias
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.