Everyone has left the cafe, except an old
man who sits in the shadow
the leaves of the tree make against the electric
light. The air is dusty
in the morning, but now there’s a dew
that settles the dust. The old
man can feel it. His tree branch
fingers are honey
for the pages of Hills Like White Elephants.
Hemingway’s abortion in his and hers.
Anis del Toro stains the folds
of his brain, worried and tired again.
He sits, staring empty-headed at the cover,
running his fingers over the letters in hills
like white elephants
in time with the hum of the electric light.
He heaves, her breast,
they let the air
in that early summer evening.
Her eyes wet, he smells of amaranth and
There was a blackthorn between the train’s tracks and
He is deaf now and
She sang and he knows she sang and
Loss of life meant new life for him and
No, no. Thirty-two times he said so. Thirty-three?
Thirty factories empty their refuse in the creek.
On the parched lawns are starlings, alien and aggressive.
Now it is quiet
and the old man can feel the difference.