we dreamt of being great poets
but for now we’re just more college kids reading “on the road”
in lulls and snatches behind polished bartops
and tonguing soft round elegies strung together like pearls,
like smooth half notes coaxed from the bent swan’s neck of the tenor sax.
more kids lonely on smalltown tuesday nights
that ring with the harsh music of brakes on thin sheets of water.
we clutch bellies wrapped in black wool,
finger piercings gingerly,
the pricking slide of stainless steel through tender flesh,
and wonder absently when we began to sound so rehearsed.