Leading Man


So small he sits on the edge of my palm
with his back against my brandy glass,
legs crossed, relaxed,
diminutive glass in his hand.
But this is just the play of parallax,
sitting, as he is, on a bolster
on the other side of the room.

He’s had enough banter
with his band of admirers.
Now they’ve drifted off to examine
the party’s exposed machinery.
He saunters over with a Fosse skip,
sprung thighs, caffeine pulleys
working away from shoulder to hip.
Twenty clap press-ups just for me.

He dabs the back of his reddened neck
with a neatly folded serviette,
says he wants to prove how a look
touches as much as the hand.
In the garden, I squint one-eyed
at my fingertips as we run them over
the gelateria of evening cloud.
The pinks, he says, the plum and ash.

He steers me across the fescue lawn,
toward the drive where he’s parked up tight
between two smoked-glass limousines.
He points the fob and the stalled notes
chirrup like pebbles over a frozen lake.
I’d like to tell you what Stanley thought,
I mean really thought, about that scene.

Patrick Brandon in the Poetry Store

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