POEM FROM SOMEONE ELSE

those were blank months
I stayed inside, walked my roommate’s dog
made puzzles on the coffee table
washed my hands every two minutes

I knew you’d gone up north
heard that though I wished I hadn’t
tried not to think of the minute
I’d known you and what that had meant to me

on the street alone I stepped off the curb
to give strangers wide berths
kept my head down or turned to exhale
when traffic made that impossible

I rode my bicycle as far as it would take me
out over the bridge and back
to feel like I was doing something
knowing I would pass your empty house along the way

I imagined all kinds of scenarios
but in the end I thought it best I didn’t know
knowing eats you, whoever you are
best to keep things empty

coming back over the bridge
the river and its tailings, its dip, its drama
I was suspicious—
I didn’t want any part of it to enter in

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