Cups for Saucers

by Darryl Price


They were everywhere walking right above us 

or so it seemed, back and forth,

back and forth with their lousy, crunching

heels making hollow chewed up noises that

took all the sweet sounds left on

earth and had them march along to

one awful grumpy song. Something was broken.    

You could hear it. But the pitiful

space I was in didn't feel like

the end to me. Even in that

thinly veiled bad situation I had wonderful

hopes stirring inside of me for some

crazy unknown reason. I'd managed to smile

at her while her parents stared at


nothing but fear. Her eyes barely crinkled

some tiny little bit but I saw.

Oh yes. Probably more out of impossible

expectation than anything else, but I didn't

care one whit right then and there

because I was in the best possible

moment of my life at last, at least I had something    

else to believe in and hang a

reason to live one more day on.

You could say a frantic bat signal

had been shown to the heavens above

and received by clouds and answered in

the very room we all shared, from

that direst of situations ranging just over


our dirty frozen heads like burning hills.

They stomped their big soles over and

over again on the packed snow for

some reason we couldn't quite fathom and

so we were showered with beautiful ices,

but none of us were moved by

these same threats to breathe even more    

deeply than before. No. We played frozen

better than the roots of trees stuck

into the ground so long ago. When

I looked over at her sweetly dried

and cracked face again her eyelashes were

covered with little scattered diamonds. She crossed

her eyes at me then and made


me grin in spite of myself. Thank

God the human connection does not go

out of fashion completely just because some

new childish hatred goes on another stupid

rampage across the pages of a now

familiar book of life. As it will.

As it always has done so forever, as    

far as I can see. Making us

all feel so lonely for a simple

crust of freshly baked bread. They don't

build many bombs to feed the hungry

anymore. We slept a little at a

time, but not too much, unless we

should never waken again to find each


other alive or see our true way

home at long last and sometimes we

even dreamed with our eyes open, but

not of snow. We dreamed of blue

and white cups and saucers, swirling us

around and around in the greenest sunshine,

lifting us up to ever newer heights    

of laughter and a most satisfying deep,

deep and lasting friendship. At least that's

what I wanted to share with her

ears only when our fingers did finally

connect in the middle of another stormy

day of impossible hiding under the open

battle fields. I tried once to trace


her name on the end of her

fingertip with my own finger, but the

numbness made it hard for me to

feel the letters making themselves appear as

anything more than nudges. In the end

I felt satisfied to lay my fingers

on top of her poor cold fingernails    

to keep them somewhat warmer maybe. Underground

like undisclosed bugs this secret refuge between

us became our primary language, our own

remembered country, just the two of us.

We were the white foxes of our

age. We had never been in love.

We were the first. And the last.