Rita Dove

The Boast

At the dinner table, before the baked eggplant, 
you tell the story of your friend, Ira, 
how he kept a three-foot piranha in his basement.
"It was this long," you say, extending your arms,
"And it was striped, with silver scales and blue shadows."

The man with purple eyes lifts his eyebrows; 
you laugh at his joke about the lady 
in the sausage suit, your toes find his 
under the table, and he is yours.

Evening expires in a yawn of stars. 
But on the walk home, 
when he pulls you into the hedges, 
and the black tongues of leaves flutter, 
and those boogey-man eyes glitter,
There won't be time for coming 
back with lies, with lies.