I came to visit months after your move
Then slept on the floor of your apartment
Beside a stack of books. In the morning I was up early,
Made coffee as quietly as I could. Windows stood open
Letting in a warm breeze—It was summer—
Sunlight poured in from everywhere.
Across the street someone was practicing the trumpet—
Silvery notes sailed in and invited me
To tap my feet. Later, we sat on the fire escape
Looking out into the city, the bright sky, talking,
About what I can’t recall—
It feels less and less like that matters now—
What I remember is how we confided in each other.
At an intersection on our way to a reading,
At the far end of a boulevard
Stood the only mountain I’d seen since arriving to the city.
At once I felt unmoored, as though I’d been adrift for weeks
Without any marker that could tell me where I was
On this earth or in this life—And I wept.
Here was the sound our solitude made
As we linked arms with one another:
Windows opening, tenderness, laughter.
Here was the stage where we offered
Our words to a room full of strangers.
We reached toward an audience wishing for many things—
Though at the time we would’ve been reluctant to admit it—:
Acclaim, approval, but perhaps mostly just to feel,
If only for a moment, less alone. The audience applauded,
And even now it isn’t always clear to me
Whether they applauded our art or our sorrow.
We were certain we knew what a poem was.
We were that young.