His dented brow in the black-orange light
turned me inward.
He explained a fall down an apartment staircase,
a scarf that staunched the bleeding,
a mother holding vigil by his hospital bed.
His lips, two pink parentheses, framed, “I’m not sorry about it,”
and he gazed into his drink with a cock-eyed furrow.
Lifted, I uncrossed my arms and spoke of my own lost footing,
no longer clinging to the deceptive railings
that’ve kept me upright for so long.
“I wish that’d happened to me,” I even said,
though it came out as insensitive and naïve.
I wish I had a scar to show
for my own impaired sense of direction.
Things tumble down, but we tumbled out, there,
swathed by barroom chatter and our tall-back booth.
I traced my forefinger over his jagged scar, his dimpled temple,
and recognized the heat, the pulse of letting go.