The Diner

Three white lucky cats wave in morning
Dawn's bruised fingers prod the wrong half of the moon
Nudging it off stage right.
Lights fade in to misted neon
Blowing the steam off their orange juice,
Talking over each other's shoulders
So as not to get infected by love's gaze.
A dozen teapots lined up along the wall
Stretching into a long infinity beyond
Losing colour as the gradient bleaches
    MORTICIAN: I reckon one of em's got something in it
    ORACLE: What would that something be?
Wisps of contemplative smoke
Rise off the MORTICIAN
And the ORACLE nurses a mint
As a chess game plays out at their feet;
Two knights corner a rook
Beating it into a checkers piece
Then moving on.
The POET enters from under the table
To top off the mugs with a fresh splash
And answer the question the MORTICIAN can't
    POET: It would be dice, of course
    MORTICIAN: And why would that be?
    POET: What else could it be?
Nothing can be said in response
For everything is art to the POET's deaf ears
While the ORACLE stares into the pulpy depths
Trying to find the porcelain bottom
To hide her penumbral grin.
Sirens and bells sound in the distance
Counting a forgotten hour no one keeps
Drilling out a shrill arythmic tone,
Blocked out but not ignored.
Something whistles, something shatters,
A knife clatters to the floor
Leaving the MORTICIAN to point at a former teapot,
Two white pips stare up from red squares among the shards
Which the POET pockets compulsively.
The tab is settled ahead of time
signed by the ORACLE
Mors irrumat omnia
Death fucks us all

Written: Mon Mar 16 2020