Almost always, I think of you fondly.
Like: clouds think of rain;
Like: words think of sentences;
Like: women think of orgasms.
But sometimes, dead
from the shoulders down
when we aggressively silently—Chomskily—
protest to one another: You’re wrong. You lie.
We wonder if others notice.
They must. Our animosity
obvious as the page of a second-hand Saramago
where the previous reader
had given up. A book
unhandled—the spine unbroken.
The page is turned down.
That night, right beside the restaurant
where we had had our Valentine’s dinner
one year ago (smoked eel, raw shrimp,
razor clams, two dozen oysters),
where I argued with a stubborn bartender,
we had our first public fight, after dark.
Later on, more places throughout the city
are bookmarked with our arguments.
You said, when you felt less apprehensive:
‘How nice to have left our fights
littered around the city, like clothes
discarded by randy lovers.’
And: ‘You’re attractive
when you’re fiery, my little Chinese
magnet, in your royal blue dress,
a loose white scarf. Also, alas,
I’m still not cured of book-buying.’
(first published in The Four Quarters Magazine)