Andrew W. French

The grain of the wood
tabletop between us fights itself –
lines delicately butting heads
that I daren’t look up from,

for at the sight of you
my heart fails to flutter,
my stomach is an old Amish
butter maker on strike,
refusing to churn.

Our love has fled,
leaving nothing.

No matter the amount
of stretching and contorting
your lashes attempt
our conversation is
inescapably longer, with you
talking bad movies
and me watching wood grains.

We both hate this arrangement,
but hold on to “us”
with gnawed fingernails
‘til the table strips to kindling,
hoping to find familiarity
where love departed.

But that kindling-fueled fire
has since burnt to ash.

Still we hold on,
with slivers
under our well-chewed nails
we will hold on,
so that after this
terrible experiment
we always have
kindling sliver souvenirs
embedded in our hands,

and every time
we recall these once glowing
weeks months years they
become blazing atrocities
in hindsight’s fireplace.

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