Two-Dollar Bill


The glint in his eye is more expressive than the thousand words he’s painted.
It becomes a joke between us, our shared glance
every time English becomes just another neglected child
he pretends to remember on her birthday.
It might as well be abuse.
He offered to buy our dinner but he’s going to be short,
like the fuse he gave you.
After the third time he asks my name, he drops the pretense
of caring.
He’ll be gone tomorrow and he expects the same of me
because that’s what men do.
I watch you every minute of the night, jaw like a rocky coast
and it’s clear you’ve cried your last tears for this man,
if not your last tears.
It’s easy to conflate loving
with rescuing
when I know a matchbook in your fingers could burn a cross in your chest.
But what’s the use?
This man is the wind,
if he isn’t causing damage then he’s merely passing through.
He leans into us with no shame and confides proudly,
“Our waiter is as queer as a two-dollar bill,”
and one more time, we let it go.

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