When he fans rail passes from her
purse, she is attacked by knots.

Dawn. Horses below breathing smoke.
Wet-nosed. Skittish. She could, maybe,

delay for a day. Empty flag of a scarf
snagged on the brass balcony across the way.

New snowflakes. We should praise it—life—
because it is sometime reckless
. Is that

what she said? Meaning he was not the only one
who sipped weak tea and thought of Rome.

Outside, a bag gapes open. A man spills apples
in the street. Gives them up for lost.

When she packs, he realizes how little furniture
he owns, remembers the morning he swallowed

a bee and felt it batter his stomach
or thought he did, warms his hands

on her coffee cup. She calls from Vienna
to say the statues turned her feet to birds,

that she has befriended wine and lies
in the bath
. Later, so cold, walking home,

a ballpoint bursts in his breast pocket.
It frames a black flower above his heart,

a looming bloom, or what she’d label
the bleakest garden I forever tried to tend.

Félicitations, it’s what comes to mind,
so he walks the streets congratulating Paris,

his shirt getting stiff from the ink
and the days only growing longer.

About the author

Casey Thayer has done stints all over the Upper Midwest—Fargo, Madison, Chicago, tucked in an inlet in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—and hopped overseas a few…

Read the full bio

Issue 13 · September 2011

Table of contents