Sestina

the mouse that roared's picture

My fingers slide across the buttons--a smooth grip,
plastic curving in my hand--as I make this call.
Dial number 3000 across a lifetime of laziness, close
houses leaning next to each other, windows winking back at homes.
Two fast vibrations--I breathe in between--and he picks up on three, as he always does.
"Hello?" into wires across the street, and we round out a time, set.

Bring down bags and boxes of brochures, you're set
for next year, school a bright new box of shoes almost in your grip.
But I have yet to find my life raft. Uncertainty still does
burr at the both of us, quandaries of cracked gray streets calling
at both of us to tread, wind blowing through our coats. And home
always too small and medium-lit, a pedagogy of closed-

circuit dialogue. Good thing we're here to close
out our families, smile with open, reaching eyes, set
together like two different molds in an artist's shop. Hone
in on the same smiles, same motions that we've had for years, but here in the grip
of friendship it's comfortable, warm like a sweatshirt, culling
all the negativity out of family dues.

And waiting in-between crowded dividers, yes, dos,
but amigos, not a square --SAT-- circled in red. Closer
to a new place where warm wood and food and chairs call
instead of cracked gray streets. Now we're a set,
a pair, talking easier than two red circles, smoother than the grip
of lipstick on tipping lips. Here are easy, leaning homes

in our slouches, a cozy sort of home
in how we both scrape the sauce off our plates, doing
what we know best: eating, talking, but today gripping
something in a new light, world. Maybe closing
all the cracks where our families are set
in your eyes (Caren's) and my smile (Mom's). Call

it new, easy, close, and yet we are calling
for black night, a fog of velvet, as we drive home,
muffler roaring off with a clunk. We always set
up this course of abstract, where words do
only take you so far. Our minds seem close--
or is it our words?--Found in the grip

of old bark gripping ridges up trees, the call
of shadows in close yellow streetlight, and blue-lit homes
that morph to wordless, more than a date does, here in the car where our statues are set.