Slow Clapping – Richard King Perkins II


It would be an untrue kindness

to say it started innocently enough


when we both knew otherwise.


I asked you to walk with me

to the side of the building

hidden by shadow and irregular trees


where we could speak freely

about dandelions and reverse-image suns.


As intended, the conversation ended

and the sidelong glances

into distance and unlit corners began


and we became exciting people once again;

nearly glorious


but from the moment we caught our breath

there was a redefining;


a subtle sickness of stomach,

the ebb of coherence


so that even our false selves

had lost whatever fragment of innocence

that might still have remained.


And yet,

because we belonged to no one indefinitely


there was a steadying, a recovery,

liars made well by ill-given pardons


our pathetic espousals applauded

by the rhythmic clapping

of lime gloves in an artificial darkness.


rkpiiRichard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.


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