Ad Infinitum

Ad Infinitum

Poem by Melanie Faith
Photo by Karyn Eisler

A man and a woman
enter a room
of crepe, candles, centerpieces.

Suffice it to say
neither possesses
sufficient armor
nor sufficient patience.
This doesn’t stop them

from choosing a festooned table,
choosing seats
across from each other.

She begins
moving the gold glitter stars
deposited
around the chocolate favors,
scattering them into circles and hearts. Uninvited,

he reaches in, runs his index finger through
them, crafting oblongs and squares.
She moves some, he moves others–
forward, backward, backward, forward.

She suggests naming
their creation.
A man and a woman

cannot agree:
We should call it
lassitude, she insists
as Oh What a Night begins.

No,
it’s torpor, he shuffles his feet,
his dress shoes just missing hers
under the table. Same thing,
she shrugs. They’re not,

he counters. A hand away,
he does not
hold out his hand. She does
not touch his forearm
like she once did.

The stars spattered
on the ivory tablecloth
spark but are silent. Her
voice carries

across the crowded expanse.
Guests that are not theirs
pair to dance. He does not
assent.

She sighs, swirling the scallop
of stars back to the table’s center
where they once started.
She looks away. Not knowing

what else to do, he suggests
making the trek
home.

Coats
buttoned up,
woolen belts at their waists
knotted. They do not speak.

Is it fullness, foolishness,
tenderness? The way he drops
to his knees before her

but does not articulate any sorry,
retrieving
her fallen mitten.

He noticed,
her left hand on the door,
her right wants
to caress
the delicate bones of his jaw and cheek.

She never says
I appreciate it.

A woman and a man
leave a room. Together
it goes like this. Begin,

then begin again. She
touches his forearm, he
reaches for her hand—
a man, a woman.


-refers from the phrase “man and woman’ in Steven Chevalia’s story Dancing Mannequin

  1. Susan Nelson Myers

    well done, Melanie!

  2. Melanie Faith

    Thanks, Susan! :) Glad to be published again Referential! :)

  3. Glad to have you, Melanie! Perhaps some day we will have Susan as well :)

  4. I loved the line breaks in this, and the story. Thank you!

  5. Melanie Faith

    That would be great to see Susan’s work published here, too! :)

    Thanks so much for your kind comment, Debbie! :) I work diligently on making line breaks (and stanza breaks) meaningful, so your note is appreciated.

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