Silences/XII

Of course, Humphrey Bogart by the piano,
his fingers gripping a shot of brandy
as the blind piano player strikes the keys—
actually, a pitcher sliding into base—
& you, the imagined you sitting across the table
with your escort in the shadows, humming
into a Mabini of neon signs that flickers
on your soft neck, arms, body, as though
Humphrey Bogart, this short, brown Bogart
never existed in your wildest imagination:
his toast—here’s looking at you, kid—
drawled in cool dude fashion, eyes in a
squint, teeth biting into a cigarette,
a hint of insomnia pasted on his cheeks—
disintegrating with the last midnight note
that clinks like a fork on the floor.

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