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  • Billy Faires

Virtual Open Mic IV


We are drooling love-eaters

Love lands on our trays

in bite-sized chunks

Some of it stringy and fibrous

and other chunks sweet and plump

We squish love in our fingers

We cram it into our maws

Can we ever ingest enough

to want down from that chair

to feel a belly overplump

with the basic nutrients?

Like celery our bodies burn love

calories faster than we consume them

We are often picky

leaving the greens and vitamin-rich

portions untouched to grow stale

banging our dangling feet

against the plastic footrest

the treble shill of objection

our desperate grab for control

Just mewling bottomless pits

who eat love out of house and home


She takes orders like punches

each item sputtered by eager

hungry morning lips

growly tummies

toddlers screeching gapmouthed

like baby birds fallen

from a pine tree nest

Somewhere in private --

a dry closet, the bathroom stall

with a Sharpie penis and fake

phone number and glib quote

some seventh-grader thought funny,

the front seat staring into the gap

in the wheel at the old dash speedometer

before LED blinded us, molecules

and the lingering fog of stale Camels

reaching down her blouse,

into her eardrums --

she has been crying.

The mascara has run into a bruise.

It has schmeared on her sockets

like hazelnut spread

on an everything bagel.

Billy Faires is a Chattanooga native who is in the process of uprooting his wife, three children and mother to Alexandria, Va., after a 20-year career at McCallie School. He is a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and received his M.Ed. from Vanderbilt University. He is grateful to a long line of English teachers, beginning with his mother and ending with Michael McFee at UNC, for their love of poetry and their patience with those amongst us who hail from The Island of Misfit Toys.

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