Poem for Robert

In a basement in a city that gave itself over to love and never
got its shit together again
on a night made for bad behavior and unkeepable promises
on a night I promised not to lie and spent stealing instead
I called him the wrong name.

If he had been a pool shark I could have been a drunken
sorority girl I don’t know how the moment got out of control
Standing on the sidewalk in his coat and recognizing each other
I was coerced into myth.

On a night when they espouse the new in drugs while demanding the old in sex
just get his number and let’s go back and smoke a bowl
On a cold windy street a sable leaps across cement tundra on
fat seventies style sandals
I took his hand and ran.

In that moment where recrimination is the first choice for ex-boyfriends
down that street where the new takes hold, jumps claim
conciliation manifests a 1991 blue Honda and a door
swinging out, and a black wool coat, and a ride
I can give you the recipe.

In a basement in a city that gave peace a chance and hasn’t known a minute of it since
against better judgment and against a cold tile floor
falling down as courtship ritual, collapse masquerading as insight
on a night dedicated to new beginnings and spent celebrating old mistakes
I tripped and impaled myself on him.

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