Thomas Devaney

Deliberate

After Lorenzo Thomas

In the basement of Double Happiness
We sit on our secrets.
A man nearby doesn’t nod,
but opens his marked and watery eyes wider.
I take it as hello and it is.
His eyes are older than he is,
And he is not so young.
It’s how he looks when he looks,
And looks good too.
Sharp and serious, one of the older guys
You say hello to, but never know,
And yet know all the same.
Smoke in the spotlight, he isn’t from Philadelphia.
“A good place to be from,” he says, a plume
in its progress from one end of the darkened room
        to the other.
So he sits; then he’s up, then he’s stands
Like our fifty states and minds.
And then we’re here, and he says —

But here’s The truth:

You have the right to keep your mouth shut

Trust me,

Across the room
A person looking like a crazy version
Of somebody you once knew
Might be our Savior
One who can draw fire
Out of ashes
At least a lover, maybe
The one to take you up a little higher

Or let you down easy.

But don’t look this way,

It isn’t me

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