Shoebox Tape #8

In the cold morning they meet out on
the cracking concrete stairs
and exhale smoke that’s thickened
darkly by the temperature.
She is driving back tomorrow
and doesn’t know if she will ever
make it over there again.
He doesn’t think about it,
and tries to speak of anything
that could stick inside her mind.
They check the time up on the clock tower
and know the minutes now
are jumping from the rooftops
raining down around the fountains
in the courtyard.

Their empty town has never been so quiet.
Even in the slow years all the gears
would keep on turning sometimes
burning from the friction.
The library never kept any fiction,
but was full of recent magazines
and endless faded map books,
full of roads that now could never
take you anywhere.
She goes back inside first, sort of shaking
in her thinly knitted sweater, but leaves
a hand print on the window when she
turns around just one more time
to see him through the doorway,
and he is standing there with no idea
she’s watching.

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