Every Word Is True

Let me tell you a story
Every word is true.

I was on the bus, riding a third-class ticket to nowhere
For a meeting with nobodies
To discuss the declining value of our nothings

When I saw her, across the aisle
Between the freakshow fatman and the bargain-bin Batman
Like heaven bumping shoulders with earth
Not caring about the dirt exchanging sleeves

She was a pearl in a pool hall
Turning every cueball a dingy shade of gray just by drawing near
Hair falling down from her ear to be closer to her face
For the moment before she brushed it back in place

She was reading that book
The one I’d judged by its cover, then opted for another,
One not so imposing and likely to judge back

She turned the page and to face me
Our eyes met
Handling all the necessary small talk
As if to save our lips for something less mundane

We took the thunder as our cue to leave at the next stop
The rain embraced us both
And we walked along the street like three old friends reunited

Kicking up spray
Our feet formed tsunamis for mantises
Praying for an end to the monsoon
Preferably monsooner than later

Pakatapakata turned to
Pitter-patter-pitter-patter turned to
Pip-pip-pip-pip
Pip-pip
Pip

And as the rain left
She smiled and walked away
I smile and stayed behind
Knowing better than to chase a dream into the daylight

Every word of that story is true, of course
But sometimes I think back and wonder
About the other self, the one that never got off the bus

Did he brush the moment away
Or does he stay up at night
Wishing he’d had the courage to follow?

In any case, she left, never to return
Both selves thus may share a common end
Yet two stories may end the same and very different remain

Let me tell you a story
Every word is true
And every sentence a lie.

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