Love is a Hungry Gryphon

Reading Bukowski in the Laundromat,
I flash that it’s been 20 years since the
night I worried Love is a Dog From Hell
in an obscenely bright emergency

waiting room. We had all been up for days
and I still remember the long looks from
the late shift orderlies. “No, no, I am
fine,” I lied. “Like Mick says, ‘I’m just waiting

on a friend.’” Above a row of dryers,
some aesthete has painted a mural of
a lone gryphon offering a unicorn
one blood red rose. I’ll be damned if I know

how that relates to the reality
of dirty towels and underwear. And I
wonder about that half-lion’s motives.
Exactly what would those things eat, anyway?

Maybe that night wasn’t an accident
after all. One’s recall can play cruel tricks
at this remove. I remember reading
Bukowski, waiting, and growing older.

Life goes on, and eventually everyone
must kill something in order to survive.
Maybe that’s why you just don’t see unicorns
hanging around in Laundromats anymore.

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