Sunday Matinee, by David Chorlton

The lady was a reckless rider
in the light rail car,
standing up to shake her hips
with the beer in her plastic cup
washing up the sides and threatening
to spill over upon
those of us just minding
our own businesses, which she
appropriated for herself
and campaigned for an end
to being miserable: an apt
description for how it felt
to be in her intoxicated shadow
while the smoothly running
wheels carried us along
our route to baseball
or ballet.
……………….The program
was all Balanchine, with its
angular grace and depictions
of sin and redemption, the struggle
to be human, and a jealous
woman’s vanity
leading to a fine finale with
her erstwhile suitor lying dead
to a knife wound in the chest.
Meanwhile, outdoors
………………………………..the temperature
was rising, and a certain
melancholy overflowed
the bars whose doors were open
and upon whose television screens
the final inning was in play. Some city
pigeons pecked for scraps
and the long streets
led to uncertain horizons.
On days like this
………………………it is impossible
to define the soul, thinking perhaps
it is the white moth
flying in the scene before
the curtain falls, or the part of us
that cares for what is lost
when a civilization turns into
technology; the part that wants
to scream like a chainsaw
when it sees what it has done.
Or is the soul
………………..the hand that holds
the knife? That tightens its grip
on the handle, bracing
to fight against loss. A fingerprint
upon its victim’s
final breath.

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