He smiles at me with a cold glare like
polished rose granite under the winter sun
and his lips crack into dusty gravelly lines,
curving until I don't know where they end.
I wonder how his tree bark curls can be matted
and beautiful simultaneously, and I wrap
one around my finger with curiosity,
returning his slate smile with more bold
definition between the black and white.
Blinking in the darkness, he tries to tell where
my figure ends and the world begins, but the lines
blur and I become a grainy plastic chair, faux wood
table, dust covered oatmeal color rug. He leans
back, annoyed that I don't give him enough
physical attention, and I get up to move on to
more plot-aware characters:
they light cigarettes and trip up on lies and
do things dangerously like being over the line
is the latest fashion.
He's smiling with someone else but it's twisted, more
like the yellowing curves of burning books.
I can tell he's got the same addiction to page
turning excitement as I do, and I don't blame him.
We glance across the room and read between
the lines, understanding that whatever this could be,
it'll always fade to a grey that looks like ash
dripping monotonously from the cigarette of
one of those characters he wants to be.