he lets the hot water run and brushes
Friday night teeth before the fogged mirror
that swallows memory backward and down the deep throat
of time: Cierra’s paisley strewn June dress, décolletage
at sixteen stained with the old man’s bilked grape wine.
lips inked purple, wet and shifting beneath the gift
of her mother’s quiet Parisian nostrils. he liked she
didn’t talk much, this silver coin fixed to the pond floor
of mutual reflections. she’s long gone now: hot water runs
and he spits her into the sink drain, and in a popped collar
polo hunts the strobe-lit-dive-bar-dance-floor for
fuller, more spirited noses and mouths agape
in unified gospel: please, pick me. he licks a neck
for taste. pinches cocoa-buttered hip fat for validity.
then whispers back, color means nothing.

even on these fresh breath Friday nights filled
with the ones who’ve mastered salivation—
he dreams his childhood ingénue drifts high plains
in cream-colored cowboy boots and ironic Walmart denim
thinking of him. really, she knocks back the daily pill
with shots of Knob Creek—bumps only the purest
up those refined holes—and touches the kind of men only
who swear to god they’ve no recollection of her
fractured summer dresses from an adolescent Ohio.
in his sleep he weeps, wakes wild and torn, thinking,
corn-fed fleeting whore. once the dark ones exit
and he’s calmed by morning coffee and cigarette,
during this light of day what he really means is this:
please, darling, come home so we can drink again
and be together merry beneath the burning sun.


for Fionah



AKHIM YUSEFF CABEY teaches writing at Columbus State Community College. A Pushcart Prize winning essayist, his work has appeared in Callaloo, Obsidian II: Black Literature in Review, The Sun, Kweli, Breakwater Review, and elsewhere. He is currently working on full length book of poetry titled Get Funky.

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