Neural Tones

by Bill Yarrow

"A rose is a rose is a rose," wrote Gertrude 
Stein. I prefer Wanda LaFrond's version: 
"Eròs is eròs is eròs," she said, sitting next to me 
in the dark patisserie where we were listening 
to a torch singer light the gloom of our recent 
divorces. My divorce was two months older 
than hers, but we were both still in the infancy 
of our dissolutions, the infected flecks of sour 
love still visible on both of our chins. "Who's 
your favorite poet?" I ask her during the lull. 
I'm into the vegan poet To Fu, she says. What 
about you?
 I reply, "I'm heavily invested in 
Tao Jones, the Wall Street poet." She tries to smile. 
What do you most regret? "Regret? About Hora? 
Not being kinder to her, I guess." She quotes 
Dr. Johnson to me: Kindness is in our power; 
fondness is not
. "That pretty much sums it up," 
I moan. She puts her hidden arms around me 
and I reciprocate, afraid of appearing rude.
Look at us, she murmurs. Tristan and Isolde 
without the adultery. "Well, you can't have
everything." No? she replies. I heard otherwise. 
Then frozen dawn waltzed into the bakery, and, 
against all good sense, I arose and arose and arose.​