il y a longtemps
by Corry Chapman

    long ago, i tasted bile, like yesterday too at work i
    could not stop grinding my teeth
    i couldn't eat
    briefly i smelled rain and my Indian dream came
    the room darkened
    night outside in the courtyard under wet trees
    leaves stuck to her feet, leaves in her footprints;
    emerging from shadow brown and white
    black hair in her eyes and jasmine in the hot air
    someone snapped fingers stinking with cologne under my nose
    hey do you want the buffet?
    no, people sneeze on it, touch it with shit under their nails, no thanks
    no they don't, stupid, you don't have any nerve
    i heard them talk about golf
    an hour passed, slithered off my hands between my fingers
    cold, oily drops in my lap
    what? why aren't you eating? dig in, the boss's ass is ready
    plump and nutty, on your knees,
    elbow to elbow, come on, come here, wipe my cheeks
    he who balks reaps the least
    shouldn't we be naked always, greased and ready to wrestle
    one hand coaching an erection, the other clamped over our bald spot,
    in their eyes my anonymity
    regards me
    death under glass
    but sometimes the song changes when suddenly a voice whispers
    so it's no longer noise but a dream
    and the music stops
    so it's only the voice, whispering-humming
    out of breath
    foreground to the soundless dream brightening then dimming
    turning black

Copyright 2021 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.