When You Could

I

Today, remembering pre-
virus models and math, this was six
years ago following another
six years preceded by another
six when I got to hug you,
after all that time and gazillion
long-dried tears and in
a silly franchise
restaurant, of all places. Hugged
you, before I could change my mind
or couldn’t, wouldn’t. Was this
preferable to
raging crying hating
what I was still incapable of
not loving? In this
restaurant, none
of this happened and
all of this happened and
by that I
mean I’d no idea
what this was supposed
to mean. Nor comprehend it

II
especially well: Your eyes
should not have been as alive, as
swimmin’ at me delicious as
recollected, but they were and
there you were, you, sans me
and with new mate in da wings,
so
then? You’d just

III
run
into a ghost who
just happened to be me it
just happened, I didn’t mean
to spook and my only parlor trick
on that day was inadequate:
simply staring down so
many dried tears and drying-up
sad dreams on a loop, to
be no one’s-biz ‘cept my
own: a flimsy encore ending
to what was
dreams, dashed, done. It said, via lamination
it said it right there on a shiny sign
in that silly
franchise restaurant right
there right above franchise hours: “NO bare
feet/ tshirts &
PLEASE NO: messy reuniting
of
soulmates NOR reigniting past
torments hold back URtears and
inconvenient torment/Karaoke Nite’s
Wednesday & WE THANK
YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION!” So

IV
it was this: a lame-o laminated hug
in a laminated lobby of a
silly franchise restaurant, 9
seconds or so I managed
to postpone
this free-floating purgatory of

V
a no-longer
you&me, postponed
the redundancy of being
a ghost
dissipating into vapor, hell yes for
those 9 seconds I staved off the ol’
lure of loose and
loony and licking spots I’d abashedly still
coveted, loony and full-moony and
just-enough
lopsided (the way you used
to like, love):

VI
no ghost, no
laminated warnings about grief beyond
reasonable/fix-with-a-peckywooden kiss/
fixable reasonable levels,
cease & desist! the
way you would love me if you
had still loved me,
the way you’d
plop your long bare toes on
my lap, smile-kissy then a
both salty and sweet finger
crooking my direction, I mean
not-this
ghost in a laminated lobby me
but
the flesh-&-
blood me, into
your toes-to-soul,
when you
could, and would.

/mr

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