Yesterday I looked up from the stained sidewalk
to see your reflection in Macy’s downtown window,
your red hooded wool cape tightly closed at the neck,
your long brown hair peeking out. I spun around,
hoping to catch you, hoping you’d catch me.
I guess I didn’t turn quickly enough.
You were gone, replaced by a group of tourists
gawking and mumbling about transient matters,
not noticing the bewildered man in their midst.
Crossing the Third Avenue bridge, I saw you
in a cab by yourself. You looked into my eyes
as you passed, then turned away without a smile.
Was that really you? Tell me that wasn’t you
In the park I saw you helping a little girl fly her kite
higher and higher. I rushed to say I was sorry;
I touched a shoulder that wasn’t yours. “I’m so sorry,
I thought you were someone else,”
I effused as I backpedaled with my head down.
Last night without thinking I cooked grilled cheese
just the way you liked, chopping fresh basil into a pool
of olive oil, pressing it into the tomato slices before
rolling it in grated cheese. You would mash it all up
on the plate, and eat it with a fork and hug yourself
between each bite.
The leaves turned yellow and crimson on the Jersey Shore
last weekend. I went down to spend a couple of days with
Audrey. Remember how she used to flirt with me when the
three of us were together? You’d feign jealousy, knowing all
the while I never noticed anyone but you. She flirted with me
again. I quickly looked for you to admonish me, but you
weren’t there. Maybe I flirted back.
The snow will fall soon. Audrey has already asked me to go
with her to Stowe. We used to go there, you and I,
for long weekends. Sometimes we never made it to the slopes
to ski. In front of the fireplace, you’d play your guitar, singing
silly love songs while I kissed your neck and rubbed your shoulders.
I lie awake at night remembering how we’d fall asleep entangled
in each other, our legs twisting, arms roaming, fingers exploring
for the best place to rest. Our breath and hearts synchronizing,
tongues darting in and out, licking the other’s face. Always we tried
to climb inside the other to be safe, to be held, to be loved.
Some days go by and I have moments when I don’t think about you,
but they are so very few. Wherever you are, I send my love.