LemuriaWe were waiting for a table in the Rainforest Cafe
On the day of the coldest night of a decade of Chicago winters.
(I had thought outside that the skin of my hands would snap under their mittens,
my watering eyes freeze open;
We had taken warm refuge under the giant red-eyed tree frog, inside
the surreal compound of
They dubbed us "Lemur, party of four,"
The name stuck to us wide-eyed primates
As naturally as if
We'd slapped on glue with a thick brush suitable for housepainting.
And rolled about on it.
Lemurs we were, now and forever.
We lay on our backs stargazing
On the hood of his Taurus,
waiting for his girlfriend while carbon monoxide from other airport
Cloyed the backs of our throats like imitation maple syrup, like
I told him stories of the constellations
He told me of his climb to become an eagle
And an observatory in Australia, once when he was innocent.
Before and after he battered my throat from inside with a muffled whine
I would reflect that there is not much to prefer
To the easy awkwardness of opposite-sex friendship.
He thinks I am silly, to be in love
Even if it is not with him,
And I do not know if I like the way the word "silly" fits in his mouth.
She was always flying, flying,
That was her job:
"Coffee, tea, or mortality?"
I remember her saxophone-soundtrack legs
And her shimmering neon-sheathed body.
I remember chattering domesticity while picking out shirts for him
She said she could not remember him being so pleasant to travel with
And suggested I tag along on more trips.
Because she liked me, because he liked me,
She would never admit that she could not stand me,
Although he swears that I am not the rip that caused
All that golden grit to pour from their shared sandbag heart.
There is no eagle that could come out the better in an encounter with
And she was always flying,
That night, we stayed up whispering and giggling
To watch the sun struggle pale above the horizon
Of the lake our states shared.
Her wedgewood blue eyes did not dull with weariness.
I have not made love to her, though our
kisses oozed dark and shining as blackberry jelly,
And I revelled in the taste of pink marzipan crowns on breasts as firm as the
last movement of Beethoven's Ninth (Froelich, Freunde).
It is too late when she finally offers me to sup at her two-petalled
We are simultaneously engaged.
The unconsummated ghost of our hunger still flutters glittering around our heads
Like the French verb for "butterfly"
("Fleureteur---to flit from flower to flower." I had considered putting
on my business card until pinned and mounted, transfixed by careless
by careless entomology)
She does not answer my e-mail.
I imagine her being married
With tiny blue flowers in her hair
The color of periwinkles
And the size of stars.
In the memory of the Rainforest Cafe,
We four islands cling together in the cold and primal man-made mist
Briefly we form a continent, lost
And called "Lemuria,"
Which is from the Latin,
"Land of ghosts."