Jesse Breite

the shape of the tabletop is a county in Arkansas,
black-bordered with a flat patina of amber.
It’s lava roiling in dimness. I look
down at it, as if it were a map of recollections.
I write on a napkin as the cloud of a previous sky.
My pen sways gently; the salt and pepper
shakers are front row with bent-crooked crowns.
The Heinz ketchup is half-empty, akimbo-cool with
sideways cap. The sugar trough is desolate except
for a Sweet ‘n Low that loafs over sleepily.
I’m a noon sun accusing Arkansas.
As I finish, I turn to look through the bar windows
at silver light sheening through icicles,
hung like time, dripping under the lamppost.

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