You see couples not speaking to each other in restaurants, as if selecting the option
that’s almost as good as the expensive specials
tires them, they are saving a murmur for the wine, a praise for dessert.
This isn’t about me. I’m single. I prefer singular but that’s linguistically irrelevant.
My subject is couples not speaking to each other in public spaces, not saying, defining, opining; not utilizing their accreted vocabularies while waiting.
I am alone in my kitchen musing; this is about me talking to myself or in my shrink’s office when he, a Jungian, asks me how many are in here and I had read a bit so I said three and that of course was the right answer.
God’s the one I talk to and I know I’m supposed to say she now but it’s, you know, I-Thou, gender fluid, and who cares, it’s the matter at hand, the heart to heart.
Though we are not a couple; there’s no parity.
I really have no business going on about couples talking. All I have to offer is decades of observation, anecdotal evidence gleaned by my daughter when she was a waitress.
What couples do with their waiting, chipping off bits of bread, sipping wine or water.
Of course this is about me and my husband, talking or not, when he lived and we ate out with friends or just the two of us. Sometimes with friends, I’d smoke a joint on the way to the restaurant; thinking back, I get why some of them dropped us.
But the two of us, among strangers, we talked, we picked off each other’s plates.
Silence was the same as conversation. We weren’t running out of love.
Florence Weinberger is the author of five published collections of poetry: The Invisible Telling Its Shape, Breathing Like a Jew, Carnal Fragrance, Sacred Graffiti, and Ghost Tattoo.
Five times nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and for Best of the Net, her poetry has appeared in a number of literary magazines, including The Comstock Review, Antietam Review, Nimrod, Poetry East, Solo, Rattle, Calyx, Miramar, The River Styx, Baltimore Review, North American Review, Shenandoah, and The Los Angeles Review. Poems have also been published in many anthologies, including Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust, The Widows’ Handbook, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, and others.