Champagne for One
by James R. Whitley
A drink: just because.
Fizz of burst
in the throat,
beneath the eyes.
over the aching rim of the glass,
wanting to contain,
onto the hardwood floor,
sealed to remain.
a flatness creep
what was once
in the liquid,
A dried cork,
an emptied bottle:
The last dying suds.
A lessening of.
As Iím heading home one evening,
I see a group of children kneeling
on their dirty knobby knees, circling
around, playing with a jumping bean,
holding a magnifying glass over
the small brownish thing,
heating it to make it jump higher.
And as it somersaults and flops around,
the kids jump themselves,
all the while screeching with glee.
I want to tell them how
unnecessarily cruel this is, tell them
about the poor trapped moth larva
squirming around inside the hard casing,
and how it is actually writhing in agony.
Then I start to think that
so, too, like this is the heart--
tragic prisoner thumping doggedly
within the confines of its bony cell.
Without interrupting the torture,
I continue on my way.
Perhaps I want them to learn
for themselves as I did--an ignorant child
uncovering a terrible secret one afternoon
in a small dimly-lit library in New York,
the room growing, suddenly, brighter.
Or maybe I let them continue
just because I was born a sinner.
Or maybe they already know--
captives, all of us.
I leave the little mob squealing with
delight as they go on tormenting
the smaller distressed creature.
And while I hope it is not the case,
I may be judged harshly for this one day.
But I survived searing heat before,
I imagine I could do so again.