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a poem by Larry Duncan


There were all kinds of signs:
cigarette butts in the coffee grounds
she spread around the base
of her tomatoes plants,
spiders in the sink
that won't be washed down the drain,
the twists and turns of letters
scrawled at midnight
and left in strategic
positions around the house,
under the cushions of the couch,
in the refrigerator next to the milk carton,
on post-it notes folded neatly
into the pockets of your shirts,
discarded soda cans and beer
bottles in the sand, the water
like wet velvet and all those lonely
ribbons of light from the oil refinery
when you didnít offer her your coat.
But what do you expect from an empty
beach at three am? You might as well
have painted the picture yourself
and maybe you did.
But you'll never really understand
what it means. You never did.
Only that it all comes down
to the banana ficus
that you left on the porch for months
even after she asked you to bring it in
and its dry, dead leaves
falling all over the hardwood
floors when you finally dragged
it inside the night she screamed,
"Get that goddamn plant in the house before it dies."

© by Larry Duncan
Gutter Eloquence Magazine ~ Issue #26 ~ April 2013