She’d known hours before
he’d flicked off the cassette
and told her it was over
and there was no “bottom,”
no night-storm, no puke to
mop up; a blessed change
would come, as it always did,
in the gradual unfolding,
moment to moment, of
Hodges’ sax slipping into
“The Mooch” as they stood
on the deck, the air chilling
to autumn, and he’d taken
another pull on his beer – his
last before rehab and a wolf
faced man greeted them with
undo cheer at the clinic
door: just then she thought
she heard, must have heard,
a woman sighing in the muffled
distance. But how indifferent
she felt, how evenly spread out
was her indifference as she
watched his goofy smile spasm
into tears. Then her car ride home,
the road spitting gravel.




Photo “Leaf on Deck” by David Olimpio.