Outside it’s autumn,
and reds yellows purples and oranges
are today’s welcome litter.
Now and again
they’re sent into a colourful and spirited
dance, perhaps at the behest of Four Winds.
Inside, the contagion
of caffeine triumphs as always over the clientele,
who bow their heads in prayer to their cellular Gods.
Apart from one: the girl
sitting two seats down from me,
whose eyes are a dam made weak by time and pressure.
The gossamer glaze — fitting for the season —
gives any onlooker a hint of The Big Picture,
But Conor Oberst is singing
to her: I can hear his trembling voice through
the slick cylindrical earmuffs on her head.
(Wherever he is, it’s winter)
They might as well be earmuffs—
they warm her; they protect her from the cold exterior.
They deliver to her Conor Oberst’s voice.
It’s ‘Lua’. Lua. Is it the
lyrics or the melody that has cut through
the butter heart like a set of Hot Knives?
Whose lips are replacing Conor Oberst’s?
Gently offering her verses of memories,
choruses of chaos never forgotten,
a middle 8 of heartbreak:
Light Pollution in her delectable darkness.
She remembers, that First Day of My Life.
That was the beginning
of the new year, in mid-April, when spring
was cold but warmed by an unexpected meeting.
But was it False Advertising? There’s
no true Road to Joy, just an idea,
created by the Coca Cola company?
‘Take It Easy (Love Nothing)’
When he told her,
‘Lover, I Don’t Have to Love’
it didn’t change everything.
She was, still is, and always will be
The Center of the World.
She wouldn’t ask him,
‘Make a Plan to Love Me.’
Either his heart was at home or it was
searching for a new one — now forging across a new continent.
Had she responded,
‘It’s Cool, We Can Still Be Friends’?
No. Her love that coated him had been a Waste Of Paint.
Softly, she slips the earmuffs off her head.
Conor Oberst is gone, and she inhales — a long,
deep intake of air: a Cleanse Song.
And when she blinks a trickle escapes