i got too close to something and singed my fingers. no,
i looked away when i realized
i was back on set, terrified at how well
i already knew my lines, like some kind of
loud, flashing twilight
between dream and nightmare.
but when i look back
into the crowded darkness you’re not there,
you’ve gone and you’ve taken with you
our apartment in east somerville
your orange tabby and
bookshelves of spanish novels
israeli cookbooks and
bad eighties films,
my desk stacked with graded papers and
dystopian short stories i xeroxed less-than-legally
because the school can’t afford thirty copies of one book.
underneath, the manuscript i work on when
i can’t sleep in on sundays,
your single-serve metal percolator,
your coffee with no cream and lots of sugar,
the small, circular motion of your hands as
you clean your glasses on the hem of your shirt.
But you asked me obvious things,
then wouldn’t answer my questions except
with jokes i was supposed to laugh at.
so i turned away.
when i turn back
sets in until i remember
i can’t lose something
i never had.