true romance in black and white

by Alex Stolis
Wild Poetry Forum
Honorable Mention, August 2009
Judged by George Szirtes

on the charcoal gray corner
of franklin and chicago
a sepia woman is alone,
maybe waiting for a bus,
maybe lonely, afraid, needing
protection; maybe on the make
with a razor sharp attitude
ready to slice you open
the instant you utter a sound.
she brings a cigarette to her lips,
hesitates for a moment
and once you crawl inside
that moment you are unsure,
words lodge in your throat,
your eyes drawn to the crease
in her skirt, the curve of her hips
as she shifts her weight, moves
her left hand to light the cigarette.
there is a spark and a flame
and you catch a brief flash
of truth or is it a well concealed lie.
she deliberately closes her eyes
and you count onethousandone,
onethousandtwo, when they open
she exhales. you want the smoke
to cut through you, want to know
her name, where she was born,
you want to take her home, want
to walk away and find another
drink in another city on another
corner and though you don’t believe
in god you pray for primary colors
and rain to break the silence.
she takes a final drag; in the still
air you catch your breath and wish
for her kiss to bleed you dry
until all that’s left are ragged
shreds of apathy drenched
in green, blue and red.