Poem: “the last time you went to New York”

the last time you went to new york

 

after the final fight,
he goes to the corner store
for bagels and some peace of mind,
and you lock yourself in the bathroom,
call your mother,
tell her that everything is over.

she murmurs sympathetically,
says something about fish in the sea
which you mishear as in the sink.
you spend the night sitting in the bathtub
mom’s voice on speakerphone
cradled to your chest.

in the months to follow
you will lose count of how many times
you write out this poem. how many times
you write Coney Island, the subway fights,
the museums you each toured alone;
none of it will say the right things.

some days you will think the only name that makes sense
in all this is fish in the sink:
the two of you circling each other in a washbasin,
nowhere to go but at each other.
you will think this must be the answer:
the way the city squeezed it out of you;
how it made your love feel small;
the way you both became all metal walls and lost things.

 

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