Knocking the Wind Out

he wears a black turtleneck
inside a dark ratskeller
where tiny overhead lights flicker
when a train rolls through
the station above

she wears a black knit beanie
without an emblem
and a pair of leather
calf-length boots
no longer distressed

the day disappears
behind a swollen sunset
on the west bank
of the largest river
either has ever seen

she hides her fear
of wrinkles
behind an arrogant
head tilt
and wag of her left foot

she hums a tune
he recognizes
but can’t name
he buys her another
espresso

orders himself
a third shot
of Patrón

the wind outside
wolf-whistles
she wonders who
will open
the red door next

high heels are a memory
she brushes aside
with her sleeve
she mops the counter dry
with her desperation

he can’t see
the tattoo on her neck
hidden behind
ribbed cotton
and miles

that separate
him from her
real identity

everyone knows
the best ink
costs more
than Chanel No. 5
or blood

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