Gone. Did the New York Subway #1
train pickpocket keep
them? I shouldn’t have kept them
all in my wallet. I wanted
of you with me
at all times. You had been
gone only a little
over a year. I should have paced
myself. I was too young
and naïve to understand the infinite
nature of your absence. You understood
limits and functions
so much better
than I ever could. And
for infinity could be
a pattern we used to scrape out
with our skates
on the Thornton Park Ice Rink.
There was meeting you. And younger
and imaginary. My first close encounter
with the third eye of a stormy
near collapse. No time for window-shopping.
A blur, and I would be back. In the midst
of it, I didn’t know that yet. You
would die before I got so dirty
in the gritty City
I couldn’t escape
a never-ending love affair
not even moving would break. And
I didn’t get to tell you about it
when you were alive, so how about now?
Once upon a time,
a 13-year-old girl emerged
from Penn Station,
and so it begins.
After 28 years, this day still knocks
the wind out of me.
More than a quarter
century. Just shy
of three decades. I look for you
in each fresh start.
Would you still accept
me after all the near misses and messes
I’ve gotten into? The slowly revolving
mop ups? Would you still
believe in being
a work in progress? Would you
give me another chance? I can hear
your voice as clearly as when
you were alive: Yes.
Bent spoons on display, the Ohio
down the hill. What is this
that is a stranger to me,
that harbors the soul
of someone so familiar—
now gone? This is
where I am now.