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And The Walls Got Loud 

Dinner's almost done

when she shows

choosing water over wine

though I indulge

for the both of us.

"We moved too fast," she says

like it's news.

I stir the pasta in silence.

"Anything? What's on your mind?"

She sips that water

like it has the answer.

I pluck a strand of linguine

from the pot and try it.

Perfect al dente.

Eight minutes.

It's one thing I've perfected.


The water didn't cut it

for her.

I finish chewing, unaffected.

"I've spoken my mind before.

It's why I'm here.

You should have called;

Saved the gas,"

I say, pragmatist to the end.

She leaves as desired.

I eat at the table

not clearing her empty plate.

It stands as a reminder.

The wine washes the garlic down.

A sink full of dishes

and it's back to bedding widows.

I wander my apartment

approaching several countertops

and a table

checking their height

for impromptu penetration.

There are none.

Tom Petty makes a promise

he can't keep

on the radio.

I crack a window

and smoke inside

for the first time in months.

  • A poem by Mike Vahsen


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