Peter Kline


The ice bin clacks;
candles runnel their bottle sconces.

Friends waft in blinking, smiling over
the props of conviviality,

lime gin and pussy willow.
Fog turns the city to figment.

Good-time synth on the box
persuasively soft,

and the high and shag and prink and all
in a wobbly disco-spin.

Olive oil and onion,
denim and skin.

Everyone is delicious.
Everyone is accounted for

but the absentee.
It’s easy to see

him: he makes gaps
where the talk won’t go,

troubling it
as it flows around him.

Some speak and a place is made. The rest

There he is on the fire escape—
laughing in another language.