Issue 15 | Summer 2014

Two Poems

Café Verité

by Denver Butson

the man who just ordered a skim latte. and sat down by the window. is being murdered. by his ex-wife.  but he isn’t even married.  to her yet.  she is calling him a liar.  and a cheat. and beating her fists.  against his chest. and clawing at his eyes. and finally strangling him.  as he looks at her.  as if he cannot believe that this. is his end. he sips his latte. and looks out the window. and then across the café.  at the legs of a woman.  licking berry muffin. off her fingertips.  she is hooked to a machine.  and staring up at a daughter. she doesn’t know now.  a daughter she doesn’t even know.  she is going to have.  who is stroking her hand. and telling her how beautiful she is. and she is. at this moment. with the sun through the café window. and her long legs crossed.  and then uncrossed. as if there is all the time in the world. for cafés and muffins. and her tan thighs. the barista’s car is going off. the road. just outside his hometown. it’s a road he had driven hundreds of times. but this time. there is a song on the radio. he hasn’t heard since.  those days long ago. when he worked in that coffee shop. with that other barista. he just remembered moments before he lost control. of the car. those eyes   those lips. and the one time they kissed.  after hours. with the chairs up on the tables. and there she is now. just getting to work. though her shift started. an hour ago. standing on the sidewalk. finishing a phone call.  while making faces. at someone else’s baby. no wonder the thought of her. would make a man drive off the road. years from now. and apparently she just might. actually live forever. because she is so radiant out there. on the other side of this door. as our worlds in here. crash into their own private ends.  and it’s not possible.  that I am alone.  when I try to make my eyes plead. with her.  to stay out there. unfazed and undying.  to stay out there.  where forever is. still a possibility.  and not to walk into.  this cafe. of uncomfortable truth. but she does.  and we all watch her. wondering what glimpse of her inevitability.   we’ll get.  and how horrible it will be.  and when.   or maybe we’ll at least glimpse a little sliver of her. the skin between her jeans. and her sweater.  and forget about tomorrow.   while we still have.  the luxury.  to forget.  about tomorrow.


love poem

by Denver Butson

around the moon’s invisible neck.  is an invisible noose.   and as the moon falls visible.  down the sky.  the invisible noose.  tightens.  around her invisible neck.

the question is.  how could the moon.  have tied this rope.  and thrown it over the edge of the sky?  without hands?  or do you really think the moon has invisible hands too?

the question is.  what chair would be big enough.  visible or not.  for the moon to stand up on.  to slip her invisible neck.  into this invisible noose?  to jump from.  when her head is at the top of the sky?

will you dance with me?


will you kiss me?

and therefore.  will you be. with me.  the last things. the moon sees.  through her invisible eyes.  as the last bit of air.  leaves her invisible lungs?

or should I just dream of this.  again tonight?  and should I just.  hope again tonight.  that you. are.  out there somewhere.  dreaming the same?


Denver Butson has three books of poetry – most recently illegible address (Luquer Street Press).  His poems have appeared in dozens of literary journals, in the Library of Congress’s Poetry 180 program (curated by Billy Collins), in numerous anthologies, including New America (Autumn House Press), and on National Public Radio’s Writer’s Almanac.  In 2013, he was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a Distinguished Entry for the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize, and a finalist for the Coal Hill Review’s chapbook competition.  He lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife and daughter.


Filed under: Poetry