The patio overlooked my fantasy but we sat inside and had overcooked fish. Clinking glasses of white wine: Here’s to hoping you’d be someone you’re not, she said—or was that me? I’m trying to be more definitive but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t notice a silhouette in the upstairs window of the shadow-dappled brick building across the street where I could swear I once heard knocking. The young woman sold hand-made shawls at the street fair down below while the hot afternoon lay syrupy like nostalgia and poplar seeds fell like snow, but like usual, I didn’t need cover, only more sets of eyes. The churchbells ring at noon and nothing changes, just what we’re trying to be. Absence is at least not nothing. From it we derive the existence of all else.
Being “someone” felt like taking
care of a baby that wasn’t mine,
sad little helpless stinking bundle
of other people’s exhaustion,
expectations, and distress, alone
in a home not my own at night
fumbling around in a dark room
with anemic hallway light coming
in thin, searching for bottles and
rattles and whatever the fuck else
those bundles require for pacification
while the bundle itself kept
unraveling from its swaddles,
squirming and wailing, loyal only
to its own suffering.