Empathy rose like a series of icebergs.
Were we distracted? Linens needed
changing, we realized a few desserts
would go uneaten, remain untouched.
When we parked the truck, the truck
got towed (this happens almost daily).
We walked the tracks back into town,
otherwise we might be screwed. We
brushed imperfect teeth: we squeezed
big tubes of paste into the little tubes.
We were the seven o’clock numbers
& we were taking up air. We realized
women coming & going in narratives
paired, walked in bars toward a joke.
Our friends had other, better friends,
convictions, frost advisories in effect.
Lamplight & rotgut, our days passed
without thinking once about that war.
Michael Robins is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Ladies & Gentlemen (Saturnalia Books, 2011) and In Memory of Brilliance & Value (Saturnalia, 2015). He teaches literature and creative writing at Columbia College Chicago.