Alison McBain


Music fails when the window goes down—
he’s coming up the steps and you can’t see his
bitter youth,
time machine to years ago.
Over and over, I listened to you.

Words unnecessary in the decades held together
with duct tape and polish.
Go back to the glue, the beginning,
eyes meeting—see the spark
before you look ahead
to dancing through years,
youth fading between.

Fast forward, hear me
promise, hear things unkempt
before disparate moments blend
seconds before
I fill the remains.

Where did the struggle go
when all the practiced moves
failed? Talk to me of the jut
of survival so far removed from canned sound,
trying too hard for applause,
nothing behind
the combination of shadow and glaring light.

Here she comes, let’s see revenge.
Here she comes, tell her
the other side of obsession—
we’ve been there,
we’ve been stalked,
we’ve watched the house of cards fall down.

Old man, go home to your wife, child,
put away the john
hancock, money for the simple curves—
uncomplicated dancing. There
are no intellectuals behind
the end of the affair.
I’ll never see you again,
either face
or memory, when I walk away.

Maybe love died,
maybe the time machine landed on it
square and killed the impulse—erased
a lifetime of moments,
a lifetime,


Alison McBain lives in Connecticut with her husband and two daughters. She has stories and poems published/forthcoming in On the Premises, The Gunpowder Review and Flash Fiction Online, among others. Recently, she also won the Patricia McFarland Memorial Award at Flash Fiction Chronicles. You can read her blog at alisonmcbain.com or follow her on Twitter @AlisonMcBain.

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