Partners in Crime

David Rojas

It's 8:33 A.M. and we are in the habit

of holding hands as we walk to coffee.

These city folk are in the habit of being

at their horns again. On the sidewalk

some indefinite number of backpacks,

purses, and briefcases shadow past.

Nuns flock a crosswalk in black habits.

The sun is wringing through the clouds

but the night chill clings on.

The buildings, the dirt, the street vendors,

the bird-less telephone lines are all identical

to so many yesterdays. But today,

there is a couple spooning on the sidewalk,

in a sleep so deep it makes your mouth water.

A scooter without a muffler whirs

and backfires past. I feel wakeful

and jealous. They drool on.

They are facing each other with eyes closed,

her head is pillowed by his arm; her painted

lips are aimed at his heart and loaded heavy

with something redder than breath.

Honk. Chalkboard breaks groan and screech.

Honk. You let go of my hand and walk around them.

Honk. Engines putter. Honk. Feet drag. Honk. Voices shuffle.

Honk. Sirens!

His head is anchored to concrete and his back

is to a wall, but the rhythm of a different place

is in his chest; it is as if her susurrations were spells

cast that kept his subconsciousness afloat.

Their bodies move like a single seashore

and physical boundaries appear displaced

and blurred by gray waves of emissions.

One is almost certain that even in their sleep

they seek each other, that in their dreams they hold

hands so tight that they merge and extend into one another,

like cast shadows, and you could not decipher

where one ended and the other started.

With a certain hunger their bellies almost touch

and her opposite leg hugs his body. She holds to him

with the hopeful tenacity of some industrial grade glue

just holding together a cardboard house;

he holds her back as if she were home.

There is a cup, sideways and empty,

just out of her finger’s reach. Behind them,

in a clear bag roost a bottle, old and dubious,

with its label ripped off. I contemplate on the bottle;

and hope it was not a commercial strength solvent

but rather a magical potion of patience and love.

You are yonder now, the hand I once held

is waving at me from across the street

and suddenly it all feels like a crime

scene; I mustn't lose your fingerprints.

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David Rojas studied engineering and English at the University of South Florida. He currently resides in Hanoi, Vietnam. He is part time English teacher and a full time street food enthusiast.