After Amorak Huey
The limousine is the oyster gray
of early-morning mist. It glides
to the curb in the only parking space
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for blocks. The back door opens.
I slide in next to Robin. He is dressed
in faded sweats like he’s just come from a workout
at the gym. His eyes are closed. Maybe
he was dozing, waiting for me
to be done with the last details of death.
Robin and I have never met, but no matter,
we’ve ended up in this vehicle
by virtue of our departure times.
Robin turns to me, hands me a beat-up tin soldier.
“Don’t you love the patina of old toy
soldiers?” he says. I wish I’d brought
a carnation from the graveyard
to give to him. Then I could tell him
about the soap my mother bathed
me with as a child. I could tell him how the man
with palsied hands at the corner convenience store
orders the same soap for me. The driver’s shadow
is just visible through the glass that divides the cab
from the passenger compartment. The radio
is tuned to a gospel station where Louis Armstrong
plays When the Saints Come Marching In.
In seconds we are out of the city
cruising along small-town streets
where a few people wave from the sidewalk.
I like that Robin doesn’t feel compelled
to make me smile. I don’t bother to put on lipstick.
We lean a bit. Our shoulders touch.
From the Bellingham poet’s upcoming book to be published by Brick Road Poetry Press in Georgia.