That fine line between mayonnaise and death

By Neil McCarthy

Okay, so here we have a café scene, or what

seems to be a café scene, and a guy sitting

to the right of the picture inspecting the veins in his arms

as if watching a line of gun powder

fizzle towards his heart;

that tell-tale wince and rub of the chest

alerting his wife to the signs.


She's looking at him, lipstick smudged on her teeth,

struggling with the unexpected enormity

of a lollo rosso leaf,

seemingly blasé with his theory of how the real divide

in this world exists between those who actually want

the gherkins on their Big Mac

and those who couldn't give a flying fuck.


He mouths her an apology on realizing his

choice of comparisons could have been better.

Nevertheless, was she using her mayonnaise sachet?

No? Could he take it? Great.

She loses her appetite and looks with glazed eyes

across the abyss at someone she is preparing to miss,

should someone else point His finger.


A young couple in the frame beside them

light each other's cigarettes,

order espressos, link fingers, deplore the war to the

sound of cutlery in combat, a milk steamer screaming.

They are heedless of the smell of toast burning.

In this scene there is no commentary, only ash;

a mortar shell blown across the table.


Neil McCarthy is an Irish poet with utter disrespect for geography and his credit card, spending most of his time between LA and Vienna. His poems have appeared in journals that include the New York Quarterly, Fogged Clarity and the Apple Valley Review to name a few.

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