Senior staff writer
John, you poor, stingy person
who wears genius like a glaze.
I’ve not once seen your poems. Instead,
you paint yourself in intellect with long words
and I, who learned English in a German high school
with people who cared more about sex
and smoking, rarely understand
what you’re saying. But I get it.
I don’t introduce you as my smart friend.
I say, “He is probably right.”
John, you have an imagination.
Imagine if I’d become a lesbian
and Steph and I hooked up each night
I said I had homework. Your face
would be the same flat square from my memory,
lines like cracks in a pie crust.
Imagine if you’d met my parents
and I could not say anything but
“He designed the feminist club’s logo
and is a poet.” Or imagine
we eloped, saying fuck you to America
and life. I’d take you home
and you would be fascinated by everything,
telling stories forever about trees and roads,
me on the couch watching TV:
What is there to do here?
What really happened was the best.
We stood in line for food whining
about prices. I took pride
in being cheap, and you, too.
I asked you, “In English,
what sound does a fish make?”
and you took paragraphs, spools of words
explaining why fish don’t make a sound and,
in English, how we only have the noise
for bubbles. A four letter word.
We said goodbye once,
when I wouldn’t see you for so long
it was just funny.
I guess you didn’t seem sad;
you were about to get drunk, and then go home.
Meanwhile, I was standing in the black night
beside our boring friends’ car.
But hey, I will visit you, right?
If I do, we can do everything again.