Partners in Crime
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.
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.