JULIE NEEDLER

Stop

She does not offer her seat—why should she; it's just
a few drops of blood, after all—but he smiles and she
smiles and he wipes the blood and there's no way to
tell why he's bleeding and he doesn't say why he's
bleeding and he lurches backward against my breasts
when the bus moves and he gives me the same shy smile
and the woman does not look up (her part is done). I
rock backward away from him smiling all the while and
his body, his skin is so fragile and he holds the
tissue in one spotted hand and grips the metal rail on
a bus seat with the other one. I get off when the
doors open—not an escapist gesture, you understand,
merely one of necessity—it was my stop.


Last Glance

The first thing
before the transformation was over
A taste of salt on her lips
and a heaviness in her limbs
which in a brief flash
she mistook for grief
in those last blurred seconds
before they left her
silent and marble-white
in the glare of the burning city


just another afternoon

Not like this
I didn't think I
would leave (you) like this
with a fat check in your name
and the keys loose
on the table









© 2005 Underground Voices