The best part of the day is the night.
I go searching for tacos, unhappy
as I walk. The streets are empty
except for people piling firewood
for the holiday. I am the ghost that passes.
The road ends. I backtrack
through some trees
to the stone pathway. Ahead,
a highway materializes.
I turn the corner. A car dealership, a man
behind glass adding numbers
in a store full of fans. Then, a naked bulb
suspended above dirt,
smoke, plastic chairs. Hotdogs?
Radishes float like little wounded hearts.
I am a compass needle swinging
yes to everything.
It is important to hold
their greasy, hot circles properly.
Three, or better, two fingers. Approach
from the side. All of the sauces.
No one talks to me, but I manage not
to spill. The trucks waft past. The daughter
smiles at her father. I belong
somewhere, but then it is finished and
I am an unmatched sock again,
old love silent at the other end of the country.
The girl with braces, the staring father, the brother
wicks my plate of its plastic bag.
I am the doubtful guest.
So I get up and the plastic bag
rises into the air and follows me
like a silly translucent mule. It is the pale
little mule of quietness and of
the strangled look a man gives
to the air when presented
with the affection of a woman, a mule
with a wooden saddle, a mule loaded
to the traces with sorrow but
never, ever, no
never with regret.