I try to imagine this timid, trusting teenager
tending bar in a downtown dive: I fail.
Yet she does, or says she does. Perhaps
the drink is a catalyst. Perhaps she is not a teenager.
Perhaps she is not timid. The silences that accrue,
maybe they are mistakes of mine, cues missed.
I am a full generation older than she:
the backs of my hands show
corrugations, like weathered bark.
I pause with my hands on her shoulders,
listen. Somewhere, far away,
someone is weeping.