some Mes got together with a ledger
and wrote themselves down.
One was a cringing thistle
who could barely lift the pen,
another the sucking clay he grew in,
while the me who kept his garden tidy
had long since taken to girlish drink and died
of margaritas. One me wrote in cursive,
but not his Christian name, then two
gave synopses of famous books
in glorious print, red English.
The short me was a charming liar
—“Call me Ishmael motherfucker”—
and the last three hunched at a mirror
while they signed, one razing his lecher beard,
one letting his grow in hope
of a better story. The last guy took and closed
the ledger, put his stamp on its spine,
found a window (the Mes were high),
and let go. The tome fell
ten stories onto the head of a man
on a bad date—she knew fashion
and kept taking out her phone—knocking him free
of the whole thing. The man was me.
I’d write back to solid guys like them
that other cities are possible
(their hearts flushed of dead holdings,
the streets flush with readers
and clean as new mirrors),
give them cause to stop in this place and hold it,
I’d write about the pleasure
of tasks and aloneness,
but don’t have the address.
A sixth borough? The great Midwest,
Apt. 5K ½ ? Love go bereft.
I never thanked my upstairs brothers.
Write your name down once, you’ll never have another.