Monday Poem

On finding a lifelong friend and lover while reading
Martin Buber in a diner—

Over the Counter
Jim Culleny

I lean from behind Buber while
Thou serveth me caffein and smile.

I know my elbows rest upon the sky.
O! the blue formica shines.

I see your red cheeks blare
in oval frame of hair.

Arthur stares me down.
He’s an angry, sad, old,
ruddyfaced lecher. Alone.

He imagines you his young lover.
He pushes baked haddock past
tired lips.

The chrome coffee pitcher
belches water vapor.

It rises to your eyes
and there they are, cloud bourn,
as the brown liquid drops my buzz.

My soles float over the counter rail.

Never weaned from fantasy
I want to nail down my shoes,
not wanting to trust romance:
fool’s paradise. I say

love cool reason. Do it alone. No.

Oh, I’d love to do it right.
To give it up. Free
the hawks and doves and be slave
only to discovery.