Investigating Acquaintances

corner room3
By Olivia Somes

A cheap bodega, three years ago,
Sunset or Silverlake, five PM or nine,
buddy of yours went by last name only,
Palmeri, some parroted generalizations
about hipsters and Jack Kerouac,
Gorgonzola and black merlot,
a box cutter turtled out your back pocket,
we’d throw around the word friends.
A year earlier, at Microcosms, a thrift
slash head shop, the owner’s mustache
moved like a seesaw as he spit chew,
his name, Clark or Kent. You rifled
through incense like a maniac for thimbles.
You scored a Ziploc of screens. You were
queer then or just loose on pills, vegan
every Wednesday, we’d throw around
the word friends. A year before that
you were a chick at Pedonne’s pizza,
picked off the olives, scraped the foam
from your Hefe with a butter knife, black
nail polish, a vernacular for the strange,
Tarot cards and toe rings. Friends.
Six months before that you’re forty-something,
played keyboard in some big local band, The Frames,
twenty years ago, clothes like ashtrays,
MOM tatted on your forearm,
a habit for saying you know what I mean.
Friends. A month before that, you’re pregnant
seventeen, glittered face, pink flip flops,
cheese dogs at the mall, cellphone never
leaves your hand. Friends. A week
before that, you’re a lifeguard by day,
bomber by night, paint stained fingertips,
jeans cut to shorts, a meek mustache,
bum beers from guys in front of 7-11,
Fuck the Police. Friends. A day
before that it was yesterday, you’re
a couple, at a hookah bar, both tall, matching
kicks, blue thick laces, peach tobacco,
love making plans for tomorrow,
hiking and cheap tacos. Friends.
An hour before that: a bed, windows, walls,
—pieces of a moment strummed together,
fantasies out of acorns.

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