A Tender Nothing

Deidra from the Dairy Daze out by the bridge

               Sits on the rotted and dirty picnic tables,

               Listening to her headphones, to that one song

               That made her stay, that night it all almost ended.


               The sky is wide, the horizon bleeding out from sunset.

               No mountains or trees, just the plains and the wind.

               She thinks she can see Chicago, the place she wants to be.

               She drinks her milkshake, waits for Mike to come for her.


               That song, about a mermaid longing for the man she loves,

               Fills her with sweet sadness and endless regret, a tender nothing.

               She didn’t cross The Styx, didn’t pass a coin to the boatman.

               But what’s here for her now, that could make staying be worthwhile?


               The road is straight and endless, heading to the sea, to paradise.

               Winter offers at least sleep and solace of hiding away from them.

               Mike is coming down the road, headlights blinkered fireflies.

               Mike is coming, she’s going home, and only dreams offer pleasure.

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