Sometimes I feel like I’m whispering
into a megaphone that’s turned off
says Sean, reading from a blue notebook
he made in art class last semester. He sits
down. I’m already sitting and I know
what he means though I ask the wrong question,
the one about the girlfriend. No, he isn’t sad
and missing her. He’s sad walking around.
I’m sad walking around, too. We sit and no one
walks past in the hallways because everyone
leaves our school as fast as they can. ]
Whole days go by and I see no one
that loves me, I say. He says, It wasn’t the same
at my other school. I say, Me neither. He’s
already closed that notebook he made.
But it’s not that there aren’t good people here,
I think, or say, we’re talking and not everything
from the brain exits the mouth. We have to go
to a poetry reading but we’re going together.
We get up. We pass by the side of the library
that’s covered in glass, the glass covered in blinds.
Is it us, or this place? one of us says and I say
This place, and mention New York and Kathryn
in the back of my car, nodding at how her city
gives back, makes wintertime worth it, all those
exhibits uptown and trombones in the park
and you can take the subway anywhere. Here
we get the sun, every day. And that’s nice, we say.
But that’s not anyone’s doing! We’re laughing
but it isn’t funny. And sleeping alone in a bed is lonely,
Sean says, I could wake up dead and nobody
would know it. I know what he means. I think
it has to do with bearing witness. About visiting
Klee hung on a wall. About loving a person
by cooking them tofu. Or something to do with
inertia. Or people with grit. Or an older
America. The reading takes place where
readings take place and waiting, we talk about
Jericho, being so smart, writing those poems, knowing
those songs. The poet in front says “fadder”
for father and it sounds more correct. Everything’s
over in about forty minutes. I say the word pizza
because it’s Sean’s favorite word. Two slices with pesto
and two with ricotta. The game is on loud
in the kitchen; the kitchen is next to the booths.
Before dropping me off, Sean gives me a sticker
from a band he was in. It’s likely that I’ll save it
for seven years, then paste it to a letter to him.
Dear Sean, I’ll write. The Holsteins here
are sick of their milk. The fruits on the trees
wage war by wielding juice. All the poems we wrote
in school are finally getting acted out.