South Slope, Brooklyn.   December 10, 2016.

Two days ago I slipped up the wrong street, half on purpose, at a time half-certain to produce a blonde run-in.  A compulsive sense of rightful conversion from fatalistic nostalgia to flesh-and-blood apathy.  Instead, a dog-bound quartet made its way toward me, from the full block away appearing, to great relief, to contain no hair of distinction.  Within ten seconds three of them were identifiable within reason, and within five more I was across the street, sure enough I had not been seen – and surer still that if I had, there was no earthly reason for me to have been there.

The sick regret died a natural death years ago, on familiar blocks and in late nights with, as it turns out, just enough bourbon.  But dead remorse leaves tracks.  Chemtraily.  Her replacement, leashed to the dog, carried himself in a way I imagine bore no resemblance to mine: tall, held, effortless, neat.  If there was ever a cut – and we must think so, or else our melancholy is intolerably ours alone – it was clean, the blood forgotten, the scar invisible.  All I saw was her raven form.  Nobody walks that way, not even in dreams, and in the intervening, it’s found its center, less loping; she’s discarded her ballasts and accepted her keel.  Seen from my distance, her grace stunned.  I felt no pang, not anymore, but rather an immoveable freighter density.  Polar.  There’s no antagonism up the block.  Recognition is probable.  Politeness, likely.  Indifference, doggedly assured.

And there are times when that is the shot that takes the wind out of the step and removes from the future a trajectory.  The northward switch arrived involuntarily, somnambulistic.  A flair of self-awareness, puffed away.  Then ghosty, ghosty, all the way home.

Sister golden hair is punctual.  The half-certainty, certain enough.  In dog-light, I don’t remember why I bothered.  Something about track conversion.


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