National Poetry Month, Day 14: “The Lion’s Mouth” by Randall Mann


The Lion’s Mouth

I walk into a stanza.
There’s decent gin here;
the men are critically tanned
in winter. The gin kicks in;

our eyes get all misty from an indrawn
loss, eyes bright and dead as stars
on someone’s Walk of Fame.
I walk in. I walk.
I raise my highball, to no one.

Which is to say, to you.
My bowtie misses your bowtie.
My cords miss yours. Who says
that love isn’ t sartorial?
Every pull of an argyle, every loop
reminds me, a little bit, of you.
This is embarrassing; this is also true.

Night comes, its one-sidedness.
I think I’ ll call in sick.
I think I’ ll go to I don’ t know,
to Venice, to feel something.
It’ s good for that.

I go to Venice. No, not that one.

I go all the way to Venice.
I get the Ezra Pound haircut,
have a leering coffee break.
Mostly I go for the goodbye, the first,
cheerless stretch on the Eurostar,
because leaving it,
I tell myself, is more freighted
than leaving you. Just look. I left you
six years ago and still can’ t believe.

Goodbye Venice; goodbye dogfight
and glut. I left you. I left so many
anonymous denunciations in the lion’ s mouth.

Randall Mann

Mann is the author of Complaint in the Garden (2004), which won the Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry, and Breakfast with Thom Gunn (2009).

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →