Nightshift Tipping Barren Tables – by Lee Potts

Drunk uncles, callous bridesmaids,
and all the other witnesses
walk out to cold dark cars,
with gossip and smoke
caught in the folds of their clothes
to release into air bit by bit
on the blurred ride home.

Plates, blessed with smears of icing
and cigar ash, all cleared away.
The bar packed away and the band gone.

The ballroom
no longer nuptial, stripped of
all ancient, slightly sticky
ritual, the candles cold and solid,
the lights bright.

Turning the room so it’s ready for tomorrow,
I tip another barren table on its side,
and fold in each rattling leg
like a stage magician coaxing
his elaborate apparatus into aiding
a grand act of misdirection.

And the table’s now a wheel
as tall as I am.
I take it to storage
with all the ease and aches
of an old man dancing with his wife
at their last son’s wedding.

Lee Potts recently returned to writing poetry after a 25-year hiatus. His work has appeared in several journals including Ghost City Review, 8 Poems, UCity Review, Sugar House Review, and Barren Magazine. He also has work forthcoming in Saint Katherine Review and Parentheses Journal. He lives near Philadelphia with his wife and youngest daughter.

Art: Arches at Daybreak, mixed media on archival paper
Artist Statement: Both the poem and collage deal with matters of transitions, and I especially like the way they both incorporate a core vibrancy and warmth while simultaneously baring witness to a cooling, a calm after the rapture.