two men lying in the grass facing each other
Peter Marlow / Magnum

When I can’t talk to anyone
I like to sit in front of water.
If I have a minute to feel good
I take that minute. I have a cigarette.
I walk into the museum of past lives
and rearrange all the chairs.
This poem is meant to be read
at the bar on a Tuesday
when you’re dehydrated
and not feeling so great.
I want to know you
like a dog touches the wind
with its tongue. I want to know
why time moves impossibly slow
when pain rises, and what makes it
speed up like two people
looking for each other
at the end of the night.
When was the last time someone
looked at you like a bridge
held by cold air? Like the cars
flying down the FDR
taking us where we imagine
is better than where we are.
I imagined it differently also.
I imagined more than mixed feelings,
tough leather, the last yes coming
so quickly. Men and how they
pace awkwardly before parting.
Cats and how they roam
freely in bodegas at dawn.
The towers in photos.
The tulips of April.
The person in a theater
now watching the credits,
reading the names, stalling
to put on their coat or their scarf
or their gloves. Or maybe
not stalling. Maybe they’re
waiting for the music to change.
Not everything is an ending.
Not anything’s worth believing.
And you can begin anytime
like this whole world began
out of nothing. You can walk out
tonight and feel totally new.
All you need is the right pair of boots.