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   t u e s d a y    i n    c o p l e y    s q u a r e

--- V E N I S E   N .  B A T T L E


A middle-aged couple sharing 
meat-loverís pizza chews and stares
as if Orionís belt dangles 
like an earring above the shoulder.
I watch the color of silence
pulp over their table.

Only when the aura of absence interferes with basil and pork, does the small-lip man proffer a mash of words, crumpled like a napkin. Wife understands; she swats with her own sedimentary language.

Certainly, they chose each other I think to myself. But even the quiet longs for friendship. The couple gone, silence becomes somatic: emptiness, arthritic; loneliness, a phantom ache itching behind the heart.

© crossconnect, inc 1995-2005 |
published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania's kelly writers house |