The Late Show

I really think its getting to be that time,
she says, cleaning up the dust and grime

that lingers beneath the kitchen table,
while cigarette smoke, shapeless and unstable,

pipes from her mouth like steam from snow,
so in her nightgown at night she seems half doe,

half woman, deep-eyed, mood subjunctive,
saying but, and if, and what I wouldn’t give,

while the road nearby, through the window,
flickers with the credits of the late late show,

and in a clamshell bowl the clementines
lacquer the air with the citrus of rinds,

knuckled open as you gazed wide-eyed
at bills with the words balance due inside.
More Poems by Christopher Shannon