"When your eyes have done their part, Thought must length it in the heart." —Samuel Daniel . . . Thought lengths it, pulls an invisible world through a needle's eye one detail at a time, beginning with the glint of blond down on his knuckle as he crushed a spent cigarette— I can see that last strand of smoke escaping in a tiny gasp—above the table where a bee fed thoughtfully from a bowl of sugar. World of shadows! where his thumb lodged into the belly of an apple, then split it in two, releasing the scent that exists only in late summer’s apples as we bit into rough halves flooded with juice. Memory meticulously stitches the market square where stalls of fruit ripened in the heat. Stitches the shadows stretched and pulled across the ground by the crowds pigeons seemed to mimic in their self-important but not quite purposeful strutting, singly and in droves. Stitches the unraveling world where only vendors and policemen stood in place.
The lettering on the shop window in which
you catch a glimpse of yourself is in Polish.
Behind you a man quickly walks by, nearly shouting
into his cell phone. Then a woman
at a dreamier pace, carrying a just-bought bouquet
upside-down. All on a street where pickpockets abound
along with the ubiquitous smell of something baking.
It is delicious to be anonymous on a foreign city street.
Who knew this could be a life, having languages
instead of relationships, struggling even then,
finding out what it means to be a woman
by watching the faces of men passing by.
I went to distant cities, it almost didn’t matter
which, so primed was I to be reverent.
All of them have the beautiful bridge
crossing a grey, near-sighted river,
one that massages the eyes, focuses
the swooping birds that skim the water’s surface.
The usual things I didn’t pine for earlier
because I didn’t know I wouldn’t have them.
I spent so much time alone, when I actually turned lonely
it was vertigo.
Myself estranged is how I understood the world.
My ignorance had saved me, my vices fueled me,
and then I turned forty. I who love to look and look
couldn’t see what others did.
Now I think about currencies, linguistic equivalents, how
lop-sided they are, while
my reflection blurs in the shop windows.
Wanting to be as far away as possible exactly as much as still
Shamelessly entering a Starbucks (free wifi) to write this.