We Never Got Our Salads

It’s a half hour too late
when we reach the cruise ship dinner table draped
in pink table cloth the shade of tired faces.
What shape are our napkins folded in tonight?
God knows our lives depend on it.
—and you think I’m joking.

Two older men perched at our table.
They tell us they’ll buy us whatever
wine we like, in hopes to discover
where our tan lines end.
We prefer a bold Shiraz, they prefer blonde
fuzz on the smalls of our backs.

But where is our bread?
Where is our butter?
We wait.  Our napkin swans mutilated,
flattened to stretch across our laps
forever.  One man whispers divorce
while the other coughs unemployed.
We smile sweetly through their ribs,
seeing shallow encasings
holding what now beats slower.

Someone makes a toast:
To being young again!


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