Negotiations

The middle ground was linoleum
with a single light fixture
hanging from a chain.
It had decorative glass fixtures
for the bulbs, mostly flowers,
and only colorful birds.

There were no words except
what they said to each other
over that dark table
with the chairs that warped
if you shifted your weight
in the slightest.

It was a place of promises
like when he swore he wouldn’t
smoke so much when they visited her family,
on their property with trees that went for miles,
and looked bloody at the peak of every Autumn.

When she was at the bottom
of her bottle walking somewhere
out there hoping he would find her.
She swore she’d never get that lost alone again.
Somehow he got there and the city lights
were blue through all the windows
of the car just as it carried them back home
through all the snow and empty buildings
boarded up to keep the world outside forever.

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