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2019 (poem)

In 2019 I could descend my porch steps

and hear three short utterances

like coughs, but mixed with ideas or words

from a homeless woman sitting there.

I could cross the street, wondering

about the time a cafe broke a promise to me:

the promise of a chocolate crossiant in exchange for $3.95,

and wondering if someday

my morals will compel me to do an act strange and praiseworthy.

I could bend my bare neck in the park and feel the sun's fire on it

and ogle the immobile couples on benches,

growing together like passionate mushrooms.

Aglow with the inner light of young professionals,

the silver glow of elven kings and queens.

I could stumble looking at my phone through a crowd of phones

and be happy because of the sunlit air and the bumblebees

dodging us like jet pilots. My heart is a dumb sponge.

This world has the best music. We are always connected.

I could listen to the boombox crunch

and remember how your stories about dating always unfolded,

with alienation and bafflement, as though relating

how you invited a squid, or a statue,

to dine at a restaurant with you each evening.

I thought that was kind of sexy.

I could immediately Google your name

and while doing so remember, again, that the part of me which matters

is a particular detailed churning of an electrical sea.

We live in an electrical sea.

In 2019 I was always connected, except when I was not,

except when my head shook in my hands, late at night, because of

the underleveraged parts of my heart. Shook from what I felt.

I longed to feel the hot breath of a bear on my heels.