A Known Fact

You could smell the day’s heat even before the day began.

Constant trickle, endless green trees flanking the highway:

summer had come back. Scattered trash

on the apartment landing. Everyone passed by it. Everyone felt it

belonged to someone else.


Grey fog, blue sunlight, stones like big footprints

in a wavering line across a lawn.

Everyone was talking about a new song

in relation to the old: the same volume

but with no feeling. Standing on the porch

just before the drizzle,

fiercely missing my sister, how we used to take the bag

of cut grass from the lawnmower

and empty it over our bodies like rain. 


Days lost between the clock and my phone: I made coffee,

I brushed the cat, I went to work, I knew the time it took

to go from one room to another

to collect my ironed shirt. I kept looking back

to isolate individual moments, asking why

didn’t I give myself more fully to that

friend, that stranger, that drinking, those

days. I remembered Kira and Chicago,

leaving our apartment in the middle of the night, so hot even the moon

looked hurt. I watched a chained dog strain

at every passerby. I thought, it must be hard

to have that much desire.


Meanwhile, I’d gotten older. I’d grown

accustomed to my body.

I could sit with my shirt off

on a hot day and not think about

how my body looked

or how I felt inside it.

Cutting my hair the barber said,

heat rises, that’s a known fact.

I liked her phrasing. I walked forever.

I was trying not to revise history

to make my present life

make sense. Raised voices; faded t-shirts

left in boxes on the street.

Such strange intimacies.

The telephones ringing

in the houses as I passed.