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Peacocks

by Matthew Bains

We can still smell each other, like cookies gone bad and turned hard.

You wear the green dress to smoke in tonight
and I sit at the foot of your bed, drinking from a coffee mug
of champagne.

It makes me feel like an old, tired dog, I say.
You tell me about a dream you had where you never went to bars
anymore
and I was there, and we aged a year every second, turning ancient as fast as we could smoke.
You laughed at my ears, saying, They look like figs.
And we stopped complaining about feeling beat up and antique at only twenty-two.
There were peacocks in the front yard of your house.
They reeked of garlic and ate only Grape Nuts.
They look so happy, I said.
They’ll never leave, you said, who else will feed them? Poor bastards, they can’t go anywhere.

And then it ended, you tell me, and you woke up with
a hangover, a cigarette burn, a half drunken beer bottle. You want to smoke in the front yard now,
to check if they’d appeared, crammed together and
aching for bad cereal.
Maybe they’ll feed us this time, I say.
Don’t be absurd, you tell me.
I move to get up
and you stay in bed and light a cigarette.
Get up, sweetheart, get up, I beg.
Not right now, you tell me. Just take the cigarette.
And I do, and we lie on our sides of the bed,
dreaming of peacocks that smell like the Italian restaurant you love,
and mornings that don’t hurt, and flying
to somewhere,
the front yard, or miles away,
a knee-high auburn field,

where peacocks live.