flâneur

for Virginia.

photograph by Trae Durica

photograph by Trae Durica

I fold myself as though I am traveling inside a suitcase. My limbs curl and bend. I want this day to have nothing to do with me and everything to do with the humans around me. The snow has lost its shine; it has aged and curdled. A pigeon ice-skates, trips on a bundle of discarded city. And though this wasn’t supposed to be about a pencil, several hours later, a poet hands one to me. It is unsharpened and new like my body once was. Before the pencil, a woman on the 4 train heading uptown talks about peppermint tea and her dislike of hot chocolate. She talks of the heft of cold climbing beneath her layers. She whispers out a love letter to the Islands where she grew up and memorized recipes. After the pencil, a moon in the shape of a question mark or a slurred howl. After the pencil, a crack in the sidewalk with laughter oozing out. Closer still, and a knock-knock joke jammed between one square of concrete and another. Before the pencil, a gentleman of elder status, peeing outside of a park in chinatown. He is wedged between two shopping carts in the shape of a home minus chimney and foyer. After the pencil, a puddle of curious shade of yellow patronizes the city street. Before the pencil, a kiss so magnificent and hungry, that skin gains thirty-seven pounds from its embrace. Somewhere, though it is unclear where and when, possibly seventy-four years ago, you see her. With long sullen face, I smell the soot of words wafting off her palms. It is Sunday and there are no parties to prepare for or meals to measure. Simply, a pencil to purchase at eighteen mile long bookshop. But it was never really about that pencil.

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