Andrew Kozma

Her Lover, Gone to Buy a Drink, Perhaps

The room says, Have a drink in a voice she can’t paint over
or strip. She strips layers of her clothing
with each drink, soaking in the cool
remove of the room’s gaze.
Her lover would turn up the fan
until the blades lost themselves.
She remembers the ballroom, open
and sweltering, and women spinning
to cool themselves down. The trick is to hold your breath
until he returns or you gasp
for another drink. Cobblestones wink
through a veil of asphalt and a fat man sings his roses
from the corner. The flowers are livid
as welts. The room says, No.
But the street. The street. It has unwrinkled in the rain.

Andrew Kozma
“Her Lover, Gone to Buy a Drink, Perhaps” appeared in Paper Street, Volume 3 Number 2 (Fall 2006).