Lunch with James Schuyler

Your umbrella is up
as the rain comes down
and now you are fumbling
at the parking meter
downloading an app
from the atmosphere
so you can feed the meter
one foot away.
Totally worth it
when you enter
the glass café and are offered
a booth or table.
The booth also has a table
and then your guest arrives
more brilliant than you
and kind of shiny and
now there’s water with lemon
and tea with lemon
and a woman with a lemon
who sits puckery and tart.
The waiter pours a pitcher
of water on your head
as your eyes twitch toward
the damp umbrella.
He removes the menus
and walks away leaving you
unordered. This is going well
you say to your guest as
lemon woman shines.
Two bowls arrive with two spoons
and then some bubbling sauce.
Curry you say before the bowl
is taken away. A duck arrives
with a bill. You’ve been here
before, soaked in public with
people you barely know, extras
with other lives. After you duck
the bill your guest suggests
a quickie in the closet. You are

intrigued but there are
other ducks to pay and
a family at home hanging
on the walls and some kind of
something is welling up inside
so you sorry excuse yourself
from the tangle with a classy
hug and cheek peck. This
will not go down as the greatest
show on earth, but
as you approach your parked car
another duck is flapping under
your wiper blade and there’s
a lemon woman in the passenger
seat, so the ride home is already
filling with promise.


About the Author

Brian Builta lives in Arlington, Texas, and works at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. His work has been recently published or is forthcoming in Jabberwock Review, Juke Joint Magazine, South Florida Poetry Journal, New Ohio Review and TriQuarterly.