by Rita Dove
At the dinner table, before the
baked eggplant, you tell the story
of your friend,
Ira, how he kept a three-foot
piranha in his basement.
“It was this long,” you say,
extending your arms,
“And it was striped, with silver
scales and blue shadows.”
The man with purple eyes lifts
his eyebrows; you laugh at his
joke about the lady in the
sausage suit, your toes find his
under the table, and he is yours.
Evening expires in a yawn of stars.
But on the walk home, when he
pulls you into the hedges, and the
black tongues of leaves flutter,
and those boogey-man eyes glitter,
There won’t be time for coming
back with lies, with lies.
by Helen Hanyu Liu
At the classroom desks, before the
teacher comes, you exaggerate
your bland day,
tired, and how you took three tests
with no sleep and no caffeine.
“It was horrible,” you say,
rolling your blunt eyes
“And the classrooms, I swear are
slowing down the time.”
The boy with the brown eyes pats
your shoulder; you smile at his
tale of how early he slept in
the morning, your eyes meet his
when you glance at him, and gleam fills you
Then day ends with faster ticking of clocks.
But after bell rings, when he
Walks you to your locker, and the
Delicate talks ease you,
And scrubs you with new energy,
There won’t be need for caffeine
And sleeping, sleeping.