Empty Poet’s Bed

empty bed edit

I knew a man once who looked at a painted wall and said, “I see the Peloponnesian War in the cracks.” I knew a man once who looking through a handheld telescope held reversed saw the world of the Ancient Greeks. I knew a woman once who told me, “Modern punctuation is a scourge.” I was told once by a shop clerk in France that the jacket she had slipped over my shoulders was “tres chouette.” And I had heard the old ladies in a beauty parlor long ago gabbing that my hair was so thick. My kindergarten teacher had sent me a note in the mail one time, in perfect light blue script, years after she had cracked up, to “. . .remember me to your family.” And a gay barista in Amsterdam had told me that I wasn’t a beauty but I had something. My mother’s friend, half conked out on vodka, said I was the apple of my mother’s eye. And also, I was told by someone I can’t remember that the Chinese can do subtraction and addition faster on an abacus than on a calculator and watched it happen once in New York, how fast it was, when I was small. This tiny list of memories are almost like dreams now slipping away moments after waking from my sleep. At nighttime’s break, when all the voices who have pronounced these things are gone, I wonder someday in my absence where the violets I once grew will slumber on.

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