In the Delirium Café
In an alleyway bar in Belgium,
far below window-cradled hyacinths,
we watched a Frenchman reach across
the Delirium Café’s neon-lit pale
and slap the glasses from your head,
turning your eyes blind and face red.
We gawk. The result unpatriotic,
a non-response, just wordless gaping
like a fish, drowned by air, silent
as French flourishes pant beautifully
against your naked, sweaty face.
At home, years later, I comb
photos on Facebook of beer-filled glass
boots, bronzing the memory.
In the photo’s foreground, I see
my fellow Airmen’s nervous eyes so wide
they nearly excise the solemn pile of you
bent over just behind—an amaranth
left bleeding in gravity’s sympathetic hug,
tributaries splitting your broken glasses
like the jagged forks stretching south
of Paris to the river Yonne.