First in a Series
The woman who cuts my hair
when you’d rather keep it long
told me once, to be more difficult,
that she and her boyfriend
never discuss old soul mates—even in passing--
unaware that she was condemning
our first week of phone calls,
as we validated to each other
why we had chosen to be alone,
before scrambling for a shared time and place.
Also condemned was my thesis of poems
you asked to read, a hardbound summary
of my life’s expectations
before they were overwhelmed that first night
as I ran to and from payphones
to call your cellular, only yards apart
but wanting to pinpoint the latitude and longitude
of our meeting spot
so I could flag it with a rose.
Famous poems can be read
like unearthed crimes long gotten away with.
Unpublished, they are the 6:00 news piece
that airs long after the gun runs out of smoke.
After showing you my credentials, almost forgetting
the endless female references,
you were kind, deemed me bitter
Still cautious, you asked if I planned
to write about you with equal tact.
I almost asked you then,
what would you do to be in my thoughts
enough for that to happen?
Neither question fair at the time,
best unanswered by words, at least then.
A week before your birthday,
waiting for you to fetch me from the station,
I open my sketchbook of words
and think, deadlines are good,
as I write in anticipation
of you snooping while I sleep.
You asked for a poem, and before
you asked if I loved you, liked your children,
wanted to move from Boston.
In poetry, they are all the exact same question
I’ll continue to answer
with each new white sheet.
Ask me if you should expect a change of mind,
and I’ll say no, just a better draft
we are both happy with
for each moment.