Zeno's Ristorante

Living in anticipation of an encounter that's always about to happen, but never will.

I live around the corner from Fate,
whose real name is Scarlett
and calls herself Flo.
When our eyes meet every day or so,
she bows her head in a way
which says to me the words inextricable
and eternal, and means that she’ll
always live around the corner from
me in spirit, that our feet will
push back the same pavement in
this city or any other, that those
greenlights will be flashing through
mine again in another day or so –
And then she’s past, I’m left
staring into the oncoming
headlights of her one-way street.

Then at night, the twin beams
still smoldering at the back of my head
stay with me as firmly as divine light
blinding my rear-view mirror
across state lines and on through customs
into my dreams, until the sun clears
the building across the street to
welcome back my slowly-opened
eyes with its wide-open beams,
waving mirthlessly from the other
side of the scratches in the glass.

At the restaurant where I once ran
into Fate, she without a hint of surprise,
and where I’ve continued to meet her
now and then since, I and anyone else
glance up at each other quickly, and
Flo says things like, “What can I do for
you?” and sometimes helps me figure
out what I want.  But sometimes I
can’t eat, with my food watching
me to see what I’ll do next, so I go.

Back on the street I push away the
sidewalk with tires built of shoe leather,
with lives as long as railroad tracks,
trying to beat it to the vanishing
point where I’ll wink over into the
next landscape, which will be only
her eyes and mine rushing toward
each other across a bridge
in a game of chicken we’ll never finish,
because we’ll always be left to cover
half the remaining distance between
us and our impending collision.

The End

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