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MICHAEL FLEMING

 

 

Michael Fleming

Michael Fleming was born in San Francisco, raised in Wyoming, and has lived and learned and worked all around the world, from Thailand, England, and Swaziland to Berkeley, New York City, and now Brattleboro, Vermont. He’s been a teacher, a grad student, a carpenter, and always a writer; for the past decade he has edited literary anthologies for W. W. Norton.

 

 

 

 

Perfect

 

 

 

He slid the drink across the bar. And that’s

what’s called a perfect manhattan, my friend.

He stared, daring me to disagree. Fat

chance you’ll find better anywhere else. Ten

dollars said he was right, said we could be

conspirators, real New Yorkers. I nodded,

took the glass, drank, nodded again. He

reminded me of something about God—

I got that much, and thought about the burning

light outside, and Second Avenue

melting beyond the heavy velvet curtains.

He poured another. Night fell like glue,

like hours oozing through hot asphalt, falling

ashes. He told me about his barn

swallow life, plastered to a canyon wall

in a nest made of mud and spit. He warned

me about the ones with money, the ones

without, the bridge-and-tunnel crowd with their

whoop-de-doo, their virulent hair, their guns.

He leaned a little closer. But I care

about this town, he said, I’m like a fireman,

saving people, saving their stuff, dowsing

the flames. Perfect. I said I was tired,

had to go. One more, he said, on the house.

 

 

 

©2016 Michael Fleming

 

 

Author Links

 

Michael Fleming homepage

Poems in Sixfold by Michael Fleming (Winter 2014)

'A Toast to San Patricio': poem by Michael Fleming

More by Michael Fleming in Southword Journal

 

 

 

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Southword 6 Southword No 7 Southword No 8 Southword No 9 Southword No 10 Southword 11 southword 12 Southword No 14 Southword No 15