Rum Shop

Why do men like us act like we know
about possibility, the foolish mythology
of dreams that flourish in the soiled mouths of the old—
as if the old ought to dream in their breaking days—

where our mouths mixing exiled spirits
that come bounding from slender necks of the petit quart
to swirl in their glasses like Sunday market
mothers who negotiate the wooden stalls in Marabella?

Or Fyzabad?

The priest who drinks among them muses: these drinkers’ irreverence
bears no sense of ritual past hardened mouths, knows no baptism
for the spirited offspring of Castilian masters, their vacant sensitivity
swallowed hard as a kind of revenge.

They forget the Indian boy posted like a broom in the corner.
He squints, pushing down his own mouthful before joining them
between glasses and rum shop rooms that stink
of thick rotting intention, of falsehoods, of tobacco stained water.

Speakers boom their lovers’ names, threatening to shake
the spiders off their webs, and a young man learns
to break the monotony of her singular presence.