The seahorse curves and straightens
its tail, juts its horsehead forward.
On land, it wouldn’t last a minute,
any more than a starfish would twinkle
in the sky. And your chess pieces don’t
fool anyone. Kings of no country, bishops
of no church. Just like this man sitting
across from you, sipping coffee. Deep
down you know is holding the place
between your last great love and the next.
But for now, he is a reasonable facsimile.
Strong shoulders and eyes like soft, brown
earth, the kind you might plant a tree in,
let grow for years until you chop it down,
drag it into the house, strand it up
with tinsel and popcorn. Make it look
as little as a tree as you possibly can,
knowing that it wouldn’t last
a minute outside in the snow.
Francine Witte is the author of four poetry chapbooks and two flash fiction chapbooks. Her full-length poetry collection, Café Crazy, has recently been published by Kelsay Books. She is reviewer, blogger, and photographer. She is a former English teacher. She lives in NYC.