Despertar 4
By Daniel McGinn

She wishes she was small like a child’s blouse.
She wishes it was pink.
She is trying to eat in little bites.
There are white tablecloths and couples at other tables.
She does not like the way I look at her mouth
every time she opens it. She is eating as little as possible.
Eating is loaded with facial expressions and noises.
She won’t risk either. I am cutting and cutting my steak,
knife and fork, knife and fork, grabbing dinner
by the horns and wrestling it down. She sits demurely,
trying to listen. She would say something
but I am doing the talking, effortlessly saying
all the wrong things.
The blood is warm and pulsing in her cheeks.
She is forgetting how to blink.
She tries a forkful of salad and a spring leaf slides
out of the bowl, the vinegar and oil seep
into the white table cloth. She watches the stain grow.
My steak is bleeding profusely.
The trout on her plate was fried with head and tail intact.
She has no idea what to do with this eyeless fish;
she doesn’t want to rip out its spine or cut off its head.
Not on the first date. She is uncertain what to do
so she sits there doing nothing. The only thing she knows
is she’s not going to kiss me. Not after watching me eat.

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