Annette Barnes

Without Apology
January 10, 2013 Barnes Annette

Without Apology


Things happen. We’ve been promised

a meteor shower, though we can’t see


a single shooting star. A man bumps into

us on the Underground without apology.


The fly we fish from our wine glass is

a recovering alcoholic, can’t walk straight


but remembers how to fly. Peter remembers

how to fold his napkin, pour salt and pepper


on his food. We feel him feeling this world’s

a fearful place. It happened when the hostel


was sold, backpackers littered the square,

talking loudly in foreign tongues, the police ran


complaints by the new night manager. Now

Peter stares at the tourists flooding the cathedral


and when we turn for a moment, he  has fled.

And now a hand restrains him. What is it called,


salt shaker, person, weather?  Why does hair

grow from his ears, why aren’t his trousers clean?


Exactly. A world where beauty no longer counts.

Annette Barnes is the author of a book of poems, Next In Line (Pinyon Press, 2017).