Cloudburst | R. T. Castleberry

Do you find meaning in beauty, she asks.
Rain drizzles the apartment pool.
A wedding diamond gleams as
her fingers drum the steering wheel.

Choosing the easier, crueler truth, 
I answer; No. Not meaning. 
There’s an edge in all things I enjoy--
the calculation of cosmetics,
conjured imagery ordered
in paint spatter, photo’s glint,
a dancer’s legs striding a staircase.
Beauty is struggle,
assets forged by artifice and effort.

Her hands flutter in applause.
Clever and concise, she remarks.
Not at all convincing.
She starts the car to end the conversation.
Leaning into the open window,
I ask, Are we done?
We are. I am. 
She backs into a turn, raises her cell phone
and is gone.
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