someone could be writing a poem now, & she's walked into it without moving.

he's stealing what she can't see, creating an explanation for every word & motion, without consent. he keeps notes on a napkin: a hesitation to speak, pieces of conversation, the atmosphere, hands, eyes, body in full. watching her masticate, observing how the muscles alternate between smooth & jerky motion. writing, too, about the father who sits across.

the poem will be perfect, a study of humanity caught unaware, completely absorbed in the moment; it will be rhymed, also, because he has a suspicion (more egotistical than aesthetic) that all this 'free verse' crap so common now is an admission of lazy un-talent rather than true, intended art.

he lies--the questions of past relations, present circumstances, all things unrevealed (what poets' dreams are made of)--about them both. but never a moral objection crosses his mind; their truth is not what matters. her nervous mannerisms he interprets as an impending confession, something that will shatter the peaceful meal. home from college, full of new ideas, she knows this will ruin a family already tilting towards disaster. when she brings the water glass to her lips, she peers over the rim, eyes darting directionless, as if the forthcoming admission might be stopped by her favorite sinatra song or the chatter of an overambitious waiter.

this is what he will write, with better alliteration, phrasing, & a broader vocabulary.

someone could be writing a poem, but someone is listening, waiting for her to speak.

she says nothing.

the poet leaves: a blank napkin on his plate, a poem unwritten.