Eight in the morning, sun slanting through the cracked blinds
cranky and bright
as I feast on cereal and coffee,
shuffling face cards and mispronouncing names of birds in the bay window,
while the trash trucks gang up on the one-way’s cans,
stalling the morning commute:
these are the times like these;
times that I miss you the most,
more than usual,
more than always,
like I always do.

Your magnets still stuck on my refrigerator,
your portraits of soccer hooligans,
your collages of MRI scanners and meat clipped from newspaper ads,
your hand-sewed pouches and tiny keepsakes still all over where
you’re never around.

I’m doing okay,
pursuing the delicate and dubious distinction of being me.
There’s the James Webb Space Telescope to look forward to.
There’s another election coming up too —
maybe a more humane result for the world this time —
and a new subway station is being built a few blocks away.
San Francisco?
Well, it’s taking a crack at dying a tidy boutique death,
casually checked into a crumby SRO for construction’s endless duration.
But it’ll make it,
aged and fading into a sturdy civility,
just like me,
with all these people I’ve somehow outlived,
always fucking up my life still.

Between changed channels and looping dreams,
I write our names all over the lease you’ll never get to sign,
the one that’d put us together in a splendid little one bedroom,
with a mongrel pup named Rembrandt,
just off Lake Street,
where the wealthy drunks hide behind Sea Cliff walls
and ply their massive share of it all.
And we’d eat jellyfish pie and rhumba on the kitchen tiles in rain boots,
sip daffodil tea from shot glasses;
shoelessly argyled on the stoop;
make plans to go to places we’ve never heard of,
attend estate sales and police auctions,
sleep like little kids on x-mas who can’t wait to wake up early.

But finding myself lost
in this delicate and dubious distinction of being me,
I’m waking up alone more years than not.
There are radio waves in my teeth,
dime pancakes over my eyes,
and moonlight biting my fingernails.

Who gets to say what being apart really is?

Unable to spell how it feels to make a turmeric sardine sandwich,
or fall into a yard of tulips in July.
The plunged gunk of memory’s misses:
tufts of rangy cottonwoods sketched into the horizon’s bent back,
the way you looked in those Dacron polyester slacks
with that postal stripe running down the side —
your little voice still ringing softly in my ears.
The parsimony of past events:
a gleam that’s never as close as it’d seem.
There is no other way to know you now.

I slop up my cereal and pat down what’s left of my hair,
and try to remember
how to forget
how to think.

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