he looks at her, across the aisle
that traps the early holiday shoppers
thanks to the man who vowed in aged days
that he wouldn’t become his father
in the same twelve-step program
taken by someone I knew
a Polaroid burned, Scotch tape
fallen down chipped plaster
of foil walls.
she is like a horse with blinders
but they’re going to put her down.
she, swatting at an artful gnat
dodging her crooked fingers.
catching his eyes that look up
to her mouth, shaped like
an unshipped apple, a hope
that she will satisfy, because
after all, she was gracious enough
to let him gaze, thirty-five minutes
on the way to a thrift shop
where she had bought that Swarovski ring
that doesn’t quite blind like candles midstorm.