Cold War

If you can remember the cold war, you’re too old for me.
       —Grindr profile

Because you’re twenty-two, and in your prime,
you silently refuse to date, or “date.”
When war was cold, I had a lovely time.

I messaged you and sent a shot of grime,
then shot some more. It must have been too late.
Because you’re twenty-two, and in your prime?

Perhaps. I’m shifting like a paradigm.
And all the new assumptions formulate
as if our war were cold. A lovely time:

I’ll exercise my stock, internal rhyme—
the currency is yours to circulate.
I’m forty-nine; my interest rate is prime.

Suppose that poverty is not a crime.
Suppose you more or less accommodate,
like war. When cold, we’ll have a lovely time.

Perhaps you’ll click on me in wintertime.
Proximity is constant; so is fate.
Was I twenty-two? Before my prime
the war was cold. I had a lovely time.

Copyright © 2023 by Randall Mann. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 3, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.