Peels a layer of skin.
Turns the world into a bad Hawaiian shirt,
harsh on the eyes but impossible not to look at.
Rhapsodizes about the girl who crushed
my heart beneath the heel of her sensible loafer.
Lengthens my nose to junior high school proportions
and adds a hump.
Orders a third drink.
Envies vapid starlets.
Shamelessly solicits complements.
Does not answer questions
or laugh at Uncle Bob’s jokes
or ask how my sister’s day was
or if she will need knee surgery after all.
Turns two men folding a flag at dusk,
gentle and bored, into
what patriotism was always meant to be.
Everyday love. The promise to climb
the flagpole again tomorrow,
even if the seagulls are flocking inland.