Breakup at the Starfish Brasserie

Owen McLeod

You imagine yourself the simplified figure
in this future person’s false romantic idea
of the present moment. You’ve even stopped
believing you know where the sculptures end
and the furniture begins. Well, bully for you
is all I can say—that, and have a good one.

The truly sad thing is there is more than one
way to skin our cat. Add the dog, I figure
it’s thirty-six ways in total. Of course, you
don’t actually skin them. That’s not the idea.
“The truth is that there’s no beginning or end
to anything.” Or so you’d say, if not stopped.

Do you remember the weekend we stopped
talking to each other? That was definitely one
of the loudest times in our lives. The end
was near, though of course we didn’t figure
that out till later. I’ll admit, it was a neat idea
for me to call you me and you to call me you,

as if this inversion might save me and you
from extinction. It was fun until it stopped
being fun, which was when I had the idea
that we in fact are distinct people, not one
person in two bodies. Certainly my figure
was different from yours, especially at the end,

when I was fat as hell, a sad blob at the end
of the bar. “The body is the soul,” you
said, but I was too damn drunk to figure
out what you meant. Eventually I stopped
trying. “Here’s to one for all and all for one!”
We clinked our glasses to a dumb idea.

Meanwhile, in Canada, geese get the idea:
it’s time to start heading south. The end
of things is clear to them: summer is one
season; winter another. They’re not like you
and me, muddling everything. If they stopped
to think, they’d fall from the sky. Go figure.

In the parking lot, we stopped loving even the idea
of each other. I figure it was an appropriate end:
the honk, above, from one lost goose. That was me—and you.

Owen McLeod makes pottery and lives in Pennsylvania. His poems have appeared in Boulevard, Field, The Massachusetts Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.
Originally published:
November 1, 2017


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