Saturday, April 19, 2014

Poem a Day: 19

Eye Contact

Hey guy at the YMCA, don't you
remember me? As you bull past, a bare
"excuse me" passing your tightened
lips? Don't you recall sitting for a
semester in my class, your face alight
at times with an idea? Don't you have
any memory of the time you told us
how you stayed awake for 72 hours
playing World of Warcraft, pissing
into a bottle? I do. And how could you
forget lingering after class, asking me
questions about Beowulf, trying to figure
me out, how to make me like your
bombastic essay style? Or the way you
and that red-headed iconoclast dominated
discussions, letting the rest of the class
watch the metaphorical ball sail back
and forth over their heads, happy
to let you both have it? I thought I
was the one with memory problems.
Or -- and this makes me stop short
with a small pain -- you do remember,
every minute, and it's an act of will
that slides your eyes from mine, that
compels you to deny those hours, that
injects steel and vacancy into your face,
as you push past with narrowed lids,
implying I'm in your way, that my
fantasy of humanity is just that (a
fantasy shared by silly old ladies),
that time moves on, implacable,
like people, and that we never connect
for long, if we ever really did.

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