Weeks ago, I walked behind a stranger on 77th street.
She was wearing the perfume of a girl I used to love,
one that I don’t know by name, only by scent.
I smelled her on a stranger
and all I could remember was the feeling of her skin.
I think about all these things, and I think about how
I could have loved you - how I almost did.
The impossible what ifs of my hands tangled in your hair,
the hush of winter, how I didn’t stop until you were shaking.
And yet, the pounding hymn of empty empty empty
thrumming against your hollow ribs.
Look around you in all this stillness and solitude.
Time is collecting like dirt under fingernails, wound clock springs,
like this American ideal of worn leather
and the smell of engine oil at dawn.
Crickets on a humid summer night, the mouth-feel
of words like pulchritude, alternating terms for your loveliness.
Foul-mouthed and wanting, foul-mouthed and ready.
No one is born with words in their mouths.
Today I have what feels like far too many.
I smile and grit my country club teeth.
I have done more wishing than praying.
You are a thread I can’t seem to cut.