1989 Dave Awl

The Buddha Receiving a Gift
of Heart-Shaped Chocolates

by Dave Awl

You know very little about me now.
Not that I have a temper, for the first time in my life;
not the white shirt and tie I'm forced to put on every day,
or the way I carry twelve pounds of books in a backpack
on the off chance of getting five minutes to
read. You don't know of the dashing Ethiopian girl who
stole my hand to dinner last night, flashing an impossibly
English grin over huge plates of spongy bread and fava beans,
telling me about paraplegics and the history of a family
older than either of our troubles. You don't know that I
speak a bit of Spanish now, or that last night Gustavo
the dishwasher and I carried out the restaurant's garbage
together, and looked together for the evening moon,
and he told me that there was no moon,
"estrellas solamente" — stars only —
and I understood him. And he patted my back and we walked in,
shaking our heads at the moon's desertion. You'll never know
of my first kiss taken in danger on a rooftop, or what my
apartment looks like with the lights turned low and an
Edith Piaf tape playing, or how I found myself after many
years of distraction in a series of science fiction novels.
Most of all, you don't know that I haven't loved you almost
a year now, and no longer make jokes when your name comes up.
I know now that you'll know nothing about me ever again;
until perhaps we should meet again in the space
where these lives end, and events become meaningless
as they were always intended to be.

***

"The Buddha Receiving a Gift of Heart-Shaped Chocolates" is included in Dave Awl's book
What the Sea Means: Poems, Stories and Monologues 1987-2002
, available via Amazon.com.


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