Sunday, July 4, 2021

The New York Times Crossword Puzzle

You read the paper,
scratching number two lead
across a skyscraper
of empty windows while sinking deeper
into a word for the cumulonimbus fluff
floating at the head of our bed.
Eyebrows arched, you mumble,
praying silent riddles
as you search for “an eccentric blaze”
igniting seventeen across
that will close out the deal
and pay the afternoon’s mortgage
in syllables.

I drift in and out of reruns.
The afternoon is full of dreams
about people I have never met.
The mattress sags, and I roll towards
something that rhymes with “seams.”
The sun touches my cheek,
or maybe it’s you
as you contemplate Aztec pyramids
that must cross paths with the “meek”
as they inherit the earth.

The television dies of boredom.
An arm tunnels under my back.
There is no “seems” as I awake
and hear you whisper seventeen across:
Sunlight speckles your skin,
folded paper falling from grace
as you turn to seal the deal
in the now-forgotten alphabet.
You roll me onto my back,
kiss me down and across,
the eccentric blaze of your hair
sweeping my chest like a sunset
dusting Kilimanjaro.

~William Hammett

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