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Corner Table

 

You tell me you are going to marry him.

You knew almost at once he was the one.

Your hands rest on the quilted tablecloth.

"Such clever hands," I used to say.

I gave them names I never spoke aloud.

 

You tell me how you met and where you'll live.

It's easier to watch your lips than listen.

Your eyes flash in the candlelight like knives.

The waiters drift by with their phantom meals.

Tonight the dead are dining with the dead.

 

You twist the wineglass slowly in your hand.

And I speak of other things.  What matters most

Most often can't be said.  Better to trust

The forms that hold our grief.  We understand

This last mute touch that lingers for farewell.

 

Dana Gioia

 

 

Dana Gioia.  Reprinted by permission of the author.

 

Background
by Alcina's Alibi


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