The Recluse

This window is the only way outside
That I can see
Sometimes a stranger beckons me
And so I wait, amused, and count:
One, two, and after three, they’ve gone

Folded an airplane out of paper
To send to me in place of a smile
“I’ll return,” the paper reads
I nod, amused
They never do

Sometimes a friend creeps through and startles
The ticking beat of my heart
And I invite them for a time, watch their eyes, how they flicker
Between mine and the shadows, the broken clock

Alarmed, at last, they’ll “see me soon”
I sigh, amused
Quite used to the smiles they leave
Beside yesterday’s paper

Most of the time, I’m left alone to wonder
If this window ever closed
Could I break myself
Against the glass and
Resonate?

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Informal Interview

Turning twenty?
Good enough
Sit down and meet my kind-of friends
Major? Minor? Clubs? An intern—
Greater, then!

Stand up and e-mail, call, I recommend
We go for coffee. You like coffee. Not a question.
We’re all twenty
Bosses like to meet and greet (retreat)
Come back!

And smile straighter, sharper,
More assertive
Perfect, there, now
Take your coffee
Don’t start dreaming
I meant, don’t stop

Are you sleeping?
Wake up, wake up,
Need more coffee?

Practice perfect
Your turn now!
Don’t keep them waiting

Once Upon a Time

A while now—two years, I counted
Since you’ve said hello to me
You never said goodbye
Two years, I know—not long for your eternities,
They come and go
Like falling stars, or setting suns, but my forever misses
Endless skies
A promise, young enough to dream

You asked for me to keep our story close
Your words I left behind, not long ago
In the place imagined
Once

I’ve read you twice while waiting here
And countless times remembered pages
Old enough and scattering
You still remain the end of me
Forever faded, ripped apart, it seems
You still remain the end of me