by Camille Hugret
In every crease of the city people sit,
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elbows aloft, faces in profile,
heads bowed toward one another
over a fragrant cloud of buttered mussels,
the thrown runes of a crudité platter—
tangles of small bird feet,
creeping in the bowl.
The line for a table is long
and entwined as a schoolgirl's
shining braid. It flicks the whip
of its own hopeless gravity,
pulling in passersby
from the bookstore across the street—
their clenched fingers
peeled from the door handle.
They are sucked from the windows
of their own speeding cars
which waltz on, unheeding
through the grid of wide streets
like runaway shopping carts.
The line purrs—
strokes hair and arms
in roiling undulation. Pressing
against windows, it clasps
and unclasps hands.