Where I Am
Leroy and Hudson
I wore the blue sweater, the one I had been wearing when I conquered my fear of heights. I did it on purpose. I knew leaving you would be harder.
I could never remember your apartment number.
I sat up in bed while you were still sleeping and watched the moment go. I looked around your room, and felt you there, and counted your books, and stared at your ceiling, and saw you, them already disappearing though I tried and tried to paint them into my memory. I rested my hands in my lap and felt the day pass through my fingers. I even left your room, I couldn't take so much at once. The moments tumbling past faster than I could catch them. This one and this one. Watching them go. Feeling the end as it happened. Feeling the love, and the loss and the time. Right there, as they happened. The price of gleaming.
You and I, each for each. Our gleams, our faults. Aligned there and eluding capture. (If I were only a different kind of artist. If I could have poured paint into the sky and fooled the day.)
Leroy and Clarkson
I am holding you close. I am telling you, again, for the last time, what you already know. Around us there are taxis and rain and other people's lives going forward. Other people in taxis going home. You are wishing for things that can't happen. I am wishing our lives could go on to become one thing. One long, quiet, simple, difficult, loving (and you could read to me and touch my face) thing. Instead, we stand there, breaking. And then, finally, we go.
Now our lives move forward. Separately. My knowledge of yours ends there. As though at the close of a book: He got into a cab and drove away.
1000 Fifth Avenue
A sugar bowl from 1789. The gold, drop earrings of a Greek woman, 330 B.C.. Even the plaster angels get to last and last, circling their arms around one another today and tomorrow and, still, even the day and the day and the day after that, they will not get tired of reaching.
I have a million thoughts I want to tell you. Instead I write them down. Instead I call my mother. Instead I wander from room to room for hours. I press them into pennies I leave in a fountain.
In the Park, I drop them behind me like a trail of crumbs.
Fifth Avenue and Bergen St.
On my rainy October walks home I see airplanes, and--even if the day has been otherwise as easy as yellow, as clean as mint--of course I think of you. A thought will fall inside me quietly as a leaf. I'll pick up my pace, change the music, skirt around a puddle and the edge of sadness.
Or maybe I won't. Maybe it is a day where I like to be sad. So, instead, I'll slow down and look into the windows of all the brownstone houses. I'll see families circling blue-light tv's, couples on couches, and wonder what it is they know--what Galatea secret?--that has made their love so real. I'll wonder what it was we were, or weren't, that left ours as just a feeling: the air inside the museum, but not the statue.
The day I left you all my gifts seemed like a punishment. I felt the price, the penalty, of being me. Of having known you.
But, here, on my bed, filling the boxes of these words with memories and with love, I see the gift of them again. The rings of you slip from my fingers and fall into my thoughts as I type. And I know I will save you inside of a book someday, fold you among its pages, to keep with all of my other glad and favorite things.
And someday, too, in some place where you are, a party, maybe. A dinner. Suddenly it will come over you, If she were with me now, what would she say? And you will know the answer. And you will tell the story. Begin it with A friend of mine once....
Ah. I see it: (The air lasts longer than the statue.) Loving you was the reward for gleaming, and not the price at all.