1995 Dave Awl

Letter to Christopher

I leave my apartment at half-past eight,
half-asleep and half-unsure where I’m headed,
and why. The night is purposefully vague, cold, obscure,
and the various sources of light and patches of shadow
never collaborate to form a clear picture; the buildings
and the sky are saying nothing, the books closed, the words erased.
There’s a September-blue morning-glory drowning on the sidewalk,
and my mind is full of the intricate patterns formed
by tiny pinpricks of light against a chalkboard sky. I could give you
a thousand reasons why you and I don’t know each other anymore,
and not one of them would mean a thing if I were to see you now.
My bookbag is heavy and its strap cuts into my shoulder. I am thinking
of your fabulous lover, the one with the thick shortcropped hair,
and the way he lays a casual hand on your shoulder
as if to say that you are his now, and everything that came before him
was merely prelude and exposition. I need a haircut; my clothes
are wrinkled and fit me badly; I haven’t bought a new shirt
in over a year. I wonder how many buses will pass me
heading in the wrong direction as another summer dissolves
and I stand on a darkened street corner,
scribbling poems in a notebook.