We clinked glasses and lit our cigarettes off each other,
the regret fading with the smoke.
Party hats, streamers, empty shot glasses
set around the dining table,
nine p.m to ten p.m. to eleven fifty-nine to nothing.
We wondered if they would ever come,
as champagne bubbles calm in tall glasses,
and we toasted two for twelve.
The television drones in the corner,
dribbling out parades and tricolor balloons:
our own lives fade to monochrome
as we watched them play on loop.
You started weeping at the hem of my skirt;
I pulled your necktie until it hung around your ankle.
The radio is singing a song, but our ears are still clogged with the static of conversations we don’t remember having.
We pour the drinks but spill our bodies over the table,
trying to use the artificial stench of desperation
to cover up the antiseptic stain of washed-out lives.
This poem is included in The Sophomore Year Experience poetry compilation.