Territory of Men

by Jami Macarty

The café customer mutters a body part and a man’s name

Plastic lids startle

the floor’s scuffed wood

A man comes in

A man goes out

A window captures

the one looking in

Head observes

bobs like an inanimate object’s head

on a spring

A man coming in

A man going out

A man wearing a shirt labeled by an adjective

describing the noun


passes a man

wearing the same color shirt

My notice

changes nothing

A man inspects his reflection

carries carnations

in the bank window

red-tinged torches

at arm’s length

I do not understand why

A man goes

A man in a suit talks to himself

counts the money in his hand

A man lights a Wave cigarette

I can say goodbye

in every language and still

my nerves stretch

beyond their limit

when he leaves

A man comes in

A man goes out

and I hail a cab

to go where a woman goes

The where-to dogs

affixed to the cab’s dash

bob their heads

Nodding yes

shaking no

their heads bobbing

at every change of direction