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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

Poem Inspired by "First Date" at MusicalFare

An Abandoned Restaurant Full of Moths

by Justin Karcher

During the show’s last number, me and Carly

notice a moth flying towards us

from about five rows up

we’re ready to swat at it with our rolled-up programs

and then suddenly, it’s in front of our faces

and we start swatting

we probably look like idiots

but moths will softly and erratically fly around your face

it’s harmless, but annoying

it’s a lot like love

the beginnings of it

most of the time, love doesn’t hit you heavy

like a skyscraper crawling on all fours

and knocking you down

or a spiritual tornado

throwing you through a stained-glass window

it’s subtle, almost inconsequential at first

which is probably the point of First Date

how you want a love connection to be an immediate eruption

but it’s more like a moth always in your field of vision

maybe it slowly sneaks into your heart

maybe it sings a song that lights up your dark

maybe life is just one long first date

where you’re always trying to figure out who you are

trying to figure out if the people in your life

are real or if they’re simply figments of your imagination

a bouquet of iceberging brain matter that sinks your cardiac cruise ship

always wondering if the songs you sing

come from your lips or have the scars from old kisses

finally taken over, sprouting symphonies where they don’t belong

and all you can do is bob your head and hope for a response

from someone who’s interested in you, a moth-eaten map to show you the way

over mountains of old clothes, through abandoned restaurants

where lovesick waiters are stuck in an endless loop

serving wine to ghosts and reading the specials over and over again

places where your exes materialize out of thin air

just to talk about how much you’ve screwed up

maybe your parents too, grandparents from beyond the grave

and you can’t even finish your dinner without thinking about

how much of a disappointment you are

maybe love happens

when one disappointed person meets another disappointed person

anyway, after the show, in the parking lot

all the cars burst into moths

and all I can do is cheer them on

because it’s summer

and we should all be trying to find our flames


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