Parachute Men

Parachute Men
by Fausto Barrionuevo
Radio silence, until heavy parachutes of rain
tear open the lavender sky. Most
crash onto the maroon awning above us,
except for one.
A short frequency muffles in, the distress call
from a lone parachute man requesting permission
to land on the flooded streets of Miami.
I wave the dinner napkin to stop him, but it’s too late.
He hones in on her and me, two old friends
surrounded by candlelight. I can’t ignore him
navigating his return from a conversation
we almost had after her marriage.
Our table is his platform and the live jazz band
taking another couple’s request, his clearance.
The maître d’ arrives at our table
and glances at her cleavage, but she is unable
to ignore the harmonica’s charm to obstruct his view.
Her blonde hair strays while he and I wait for her to order.
The rebellious strand slides away from her smile,
away from the parachute man
who nears the ripples on the white surfaces of her eyes.
He is now close enough to see a hazel moon
floating across her pupils, a sight only he can witness,
which reminds him how pleasant she is to dream about.
I order her the usual vodka and tonic. Ready to fall,
my body stiffens when she turns around,
eager to ask a personal yet fatal question. I nod
in response with a faint but honest smile.
Thoughts suffocate my mind like the cigar smoke
from drunken men while I wait. The fog is too thick;
it drowns the parachute man into an unconscious state.
Falling faster through the clouds I’m left alone
to hear her question.  Have you ever been in love?
A strong gust of wind picks up abruptly
before my response and sends my chute
into a spiral, rendering it useless.
I bow my head to check the status of my feet
wondering if they know that we’ve already fallen.
With no parachute to avoid the rocks in her drink,
my eyes hollow and I remove my helmet and goggles
so that I, a parachute man can gently whisper a lie.

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