Talking to myself, that’s how it felt,
That’s how I would say it felt
If I kept control of what I said, if I
Wasn’t always amassing, out of
Control as a crowd gathering in a way
Particular to the grunge era,
Rapid and unresisting as we two
Spoke at a table, over tea, they took
Over the cool stone plaza, as if
To music, as if peanuts in
A pile, as if pickles never opened
Since 1983, as if ointment sprinkled
Golden on our beards, as if we let
The conversation be the subject, rather
If we could be subject to
The conversation, then we would not
Pass from our old lines, truck stops
And dump trucks, with the crowd
Clasping hand to ear and whispering
“You should’ve been in my shoes
Yesterday” as they began to ask
Each other’s name or recognize they did
Not know how they’d found
Themselves here in the fullest part of
The morning, cool and warm and damp
With what we could still call dew.
The loneliest air hung over us.
The breeze blew through our ears.
More truly that I sat with Shannon,
And more strange that he sat
With me, all over a bowl of bitter
Beans, with everyone gone, where
We could tell what was wrong. Is
It the way we were speaking?
Is it our friends who lied?
Who died? Were you that friend
First for me, Shannon? Lost,
After having circled my arms
At the middle school dance.
Kept me calm and alone in
A hammock breeze, together
We sang gallantly.
My ears made hymns.
I was a mouthful of cavities.
And I can’t stop. I feel
More myself than I ought to be.
A tide sweeps me. Like a song
In my head, I go away.