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A nervous hand or really two
rest upon the wax-glossed table,
like candlelit stomach aches
twisting wrappers around fingers.
Soda pop crackles
yellow and green and empty
again, but no more on the inside,
where bubbles swim and swallow.

It’s winter, now, on the bottom bunk
with salted noodles in paper cups,
slurping dreams through spoons
with knees to chins.
There’s no more to the world
than cheddar cracker boxes
and happy-laced voices,
pajamed pants with no plans.

Not hand in hand but foot by foot
we walk the darkened sidewalk
cracked walls and glaring neon
lighting the Friday still.
The inside is ours
with a sun on the wall and
tomatillo carrots in our dishes,
painted orange and free.

The night is mine and Monday
when the light is lit with promise,
when olive oil puddles on plates
and pasta twirls through forks.
Heels click on pavement
and hands rest on backs
like there are no more than two,
walking downtown hand in hand.

Empty bottles on a shelf
sit red and gold and dusted,
love wrapped in glass and paper
and immortalized for always.
Side by side the bottles rest
as crystal memories of wine red nights
and balsamic lunches,
all that it means to be home.


Carrie Bachler is a fiction editor at Halfway Down the Stairs.

© 2008, Carrie Bachler

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