Glasses clink,
small talk made.

As a child,
I would retreat underneath
the white linen tablecloth
(gently pressed
and oppressed more so gently)
and pretend I was in a castle
or a pirate ship,
the enemy outside the gates,
his weapon both red wine
and tales of vacation
on the southern beaches of France
near Nice,
a place so nice
the French named it so
for the poor, dim-witted les Americains
who make child's play of wordplay.

Imagination fueled a journey to far-off lands
of anywhere-but-here,
and the intolerable became tolerable
through "pardon me"s
and "how do you do"s
and "we'll be in touch"(es?).
Butter knife in hand,
I was a warrior to words,
and no brittle conversation
served as a bridge
one with conscience could cross.

I need glasses now
to see only shoes underneath the table,
occupied by feet
belonging to men of habit,
and the ivory drapes of linen,
no longer a sanctuary,
are not simply covers for the hard cedar truth
but veils,
marrying brides to fools.



Copyright © 2015 John Grimmett. All rights reserved.

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