Two by Two

by Daniel Pecchenino

Every few years
I lose the plot.
What came before
is submerged
beneath what is,
and now becomes
the past’s new
point of departure.

Someone else
wrote those letters,
sat in your fountain,
wore cheap suits,
talked all that shit.
It’s better
when I can’t
string it together.

But what was creeps
from underground
without pattern
or a sense of moment,
sending flares
into the night,
igniting dry fields
of memory.

The first bursts
have little to do
with the heart
of the matter.
Points miles off-
center glimmer
at odd hours,
mapping the gaps.

A waitress
pours coffee,
the angle of her
wrist a rocket
whistling your nose,
the fish scales
in your eyes,
your duck’s voice.

Dumb to the logic
of these leaps,
I follow the tracks
down the coast,
to a moist motel
off the freeway
where we made like
we were grown up.

You showed me
that little blue
number and your
homemade perfume.
The soldiers next door
pounded the walls
and whooped when
I went for ice.

And then it clicks:
In the bathroom
You grabbed a towel
Covered with ants.
You shuddered
and held it out,
pouring a black
stream to the floor.


Daniel Pecchenino lives in Hollywood and teaches in the Writing Program at the University of Southern California. His writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Southern Spaces, Flaunt, and American Literature.

1 Comment

Filed under Poetry

One response to “Two by Two

  1. Pingback: Linking in the Rain | The General Reader

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