TO THE MUSTACHE OF THE GUY IN THE “CHE GUEVARA IS MY HOMEBOY” T-SHIRT WHO GABE AND ETAN INSIST WAS CHECKING ME OUT AT ODESSA’S LATE THE OTHER NIGHT
Furry worm, red herring, blood-engorged
leech. Anemone waving fronds
to hide the nether regions of the face.
Feathery lost earring on the ground I do not stop
to contemplate because always it seems
I am walking very fast. Borscht’s
ghost, remnants of a clown’s kiss,
inflamed bivalve’s upper lip. Last night,
I closed my eyes and ten thousand
people died while I was sleeping. I wake
up and there are more. I am very lucky.
I drink coffee and read the paper.
I am surrounded by friends who tell me
this is a benevolent universe,
and sometimes I believe them. You,
mustache, hide the secret sorrow
of a man whose perfect mix tape
was stolen from him in his sleep
and who awakens to a forgotten
playlist. Mustache, you know
one should not offer unsolicited
advice: to shave or not to shave,
to leave town or stay, to find new jobs or break up
with lovers, to change our lives in any way,
because this leaves us open
for a deluge in return. It’s late
and already I am sleepy thinking of the legion
of my faults: lassitude, inordinate
shyness, the pointless hungers of my noisy
infant heart that keeps on wanting
when I should not want. Mustache, you live
perched above the lip and see all.
You can sense the musculature
turning. You live below the nose
and thus take in the world
with all its promises.
Kate Angus’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrow Street, Subtropics, Gulf Coast, Mid-American Review, Verse Daily, Barrelhouse, North American Review, Third Coast and Tar River Poetry among other places. She teaches at Gotham Writers Workshop and at LIM College.