November 22, 1963: Where Were You?

Fifty years. Before
my time—barely. I was born

into a country
in mourning. Would never

know an innocence
once claimed. Never

know a world without
that eternal flame. Would never

hear that voice, that particular brand
of Boston accent live.

Sixteen grief-stained days
shy of being able to say:

“I was there.”

Born Into a Country in Mourning

A basketball left
on a playground half
covered in snow—the view
through the chain

link fence. A typo
in a blog entry posted late
at night—the view
through cleared morning

vision. A mannequin wears
a flowing dress with white
lilies over a background
the color of the inside

of a grapefruit—the view
across an empty plaza. The lipstick
I leave on
this ceramic coffee mug

is the only view
I can touch.

Lake Street Again

Missed JFK
by 16 days, wish I could miss
that condescending sales pitch spilling out
of the guy at the table
next to mine in this independent coffee
bar. “Tell you what.” I choose

to be here in the middle
of an afternoon I have free. What is that
anyway? Structure
in a world post assassinations
and towers collapsing, in a world
where I witness car crashes

that could have been worse.
What is justifiable
fear? Pharmaceuticals
and a November sun
beams in. Lake Street busy but not
like I remember it when I lived

above the cobbler’s
and you were still alive.

Generation Logic

You began the baby
boom—I ended it. JFK shot

your senior year—Lennon
mine. I will read too much

into this symmetry. We look
for patterns in everything,

those of us who have been addicted
to numbers (and such). Chaos

or infinity, we really don’t get to choose.