Table for One at the Sunset Bistro

By Noah WarrenDecember 29, 2017

Table for One at the Sunset Bistro

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.

LARB Contributor

Noah Warren is the author of The Complete Stories (2021) and The Destroyer in the Glass (2016), chosen by Carl Phillips for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he is pursuing a PhD in English at UC Berkeley. He lives in Oakland. His poems appear in The Paris Review, Poetry, ZYZZYVA, PEN America, New England Review, Narrative, The Southern Review, AGNI,, The Sewanee Review, and elsewhere.


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