She didn’t get it all, but she got most.

What little there is now, is as salt,

decreed to black the street, the ice all melted

to white once stone in tidal stains of tears—

the summer already lost, freon spent

on rooms cooled enough for college sweatshirts,

and loveless nights, nettled, fresh as spearmint.

If she thinks of one thing, I am the worst,

the first smiling visage of her own fears,

human, briefly, as velvet to velveteen,

as a flashing dagger to the dull hilt,

as a virus to a p-zero host.

She left me the lie, but she took the boast.

Photo by Dania Bdeir at The Seventh Wave Launch
Photo by Dania Bdeir at The Seventh Wave Launch
John Reed is the author of Snowball’s Chance (Roof Books / Melville House), and All The World’s A Grave: A New Play By William Shakespeare (Penguin Books / Plume), among other works. More at JohnReed.org.

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