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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

After Shame

In a damp bar full of old men
she places my hand on her head
just on top of a bulge on her skull —
a bump really, and my stomach sours,
humbled to be across from her, drinking beer with
an abbreviated unicorn. I swirled kinks
of hair on that knob. Just so you know, she said.
Which I thought was odd, even
presumptuous, and I felt dead, drawing
my hand back in a jerk.

I don't know why she showed me her bumpy head.
She went off and became a painter,
a good one, really, who liked to show groups of kids
languid and calm after playing all afternoon.
After I looked around in her room
she never spoke to me again,
the forbidden knowledge of what deforms us
forgotten until now. It must be age.
Shame can only be given in particulars.
I tell these stories to explain why people stop liking me.

Daniel Nester

1 comment:

Matthew Thorburn said...

That "odd, even" line break is a sweet move.