Neural Tones

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: it would've been rude not to.
Look at us, she murmurs. Tristan and Isolde
without the adultery
. "Well, you can't have
everything." No? I heard otherwise. Then frozen
dawn waltzed into the bakery, and against
all good sense I arose and arose and arose.​