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Third coast brunch

By Ali Mohajer
August 16, 2000
The Iranian


Muriel sat watching in the corner,

playing with the paper,

hiding in the pages.


She's a sad one. Always

wearing black or brown.


I didn't want to meet her there ­

almost didn't care to see her ever.

But when she kissed me welcome

the coil of her lips

buzzed on my cheek.


So firm and lively

on such a languid mope.


Her melancholy draws me in ­

poppy fumes that rise from silent lips,

musky cloying vapors, dark and secret,

promising to warm me now

a little.


Muriel is ugly. Thin and dark,

all nose and eyes

and black long hair.


"Hello, darling."

"Hello." I say, and "Good to see you."


I see my words slip lightly

through her hair and linger at her ear.

I feel her breathe me in,

and almost just before I filter through

she pushes back and holds me hand to elbow,

smiles and starts to talk

like I'm a stranger.


It's funny;

the first three words I say will get her going,

and all the rest are useless.



I see the prints

that distant joy has left

around the corners of her eyes.

Others try to hide their marks;

Muriel just waits for hers

to fade away.


Who knows why we're so dull

together. Different worlds, and nothing

pulling hard

enough between.

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