Convenient refuge from the torrential deluge,
unexpected, a Tiki bar; he without an umbrella,
she without an excuse. First date, foreign film,
fix-up by a friend. Free of folly
or awkward moments associated
with ideas you don’t own.
Dusty rubber plants, bamboo walls
and red vinyl booths. Rum drinks
in fake pineapple tumblers from the Sixties,
Doobie Brothers from the Seventies
playing on the jukebox,
and enough shared stories of the decades since
to inspire second date.
They both read Franzen, cursed Netflix,
watched public television, and loved Matisse.
He talked about art and
how he always wished he could paint,
she spoke of Chilhuly like she knew about fragility.
Air conditioned comfort
a contrast to downtown’s August humidity.
No tension. No rush for time.
She liked his affable face, attentiveness,
and manners. He liked how
she seemed genuinely interested
and the way she jiggled
when she laughed, all tits and ribs.
They stopped talking about common friends
and then only referenced themselves, as if
they each recognized each other’s loneliness.
No tension. No checking the time.
Another couple of rounds of exotic drinks,
then a slow walk up the puddled street.
She linked her arm into his, like
it belonged there.
A half-block from his subway station,
a few steps from her apartment, decisions
under a streetlamp. An embrace in the rain,
the thin cotton blouse clung to her bony frame,
until it was removed.
It poured right through the night,
the scent of the city alive with promise,
or something other than crowds and concrete.
No tension. No need to check the clock.
She fell asleep watching traffic lights from below
paint murals across her ceiling, and finding
new comfort in an old bed.
His mind, miles away, ran through reasons
why something felt right
when nothing else had.
He had no excuse. She had few questions.
Slipping out for morning coffee,
he returned with the Sunday paper.
© 2017 j.g. lewis