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Something Lost, Something Trivial

Another word, another bewildered moment in transition: the phrase barely emerges from your mouth before crumbling back into a half-opened drawer in the loneliest room of a house that died seventeen years ago. I nod as if in understanding, and stoop to pick up a crushed drinking straw, the kind with the accordion elbow that facilitates adjustment. From a rooftop across the street, a mockingbird warbles his early morning medley of unrelated songs, and you say left oblique, followed by matches, then collapse on a bench, winded. I sit next to you and we both enjoy the warmth and birdsong, though I know this only through the uplifted corner of your mouth, which these days is how you indicate either deep pleasure or fear. I have to leave soon, I say, and you grab my wrist and stare into my eyes. Broom, you reply. And more emphatically, Broom! Though I cannot follow you directly, knowing both path and destination, I pick my way carefully through the years stacked high like cardboard banker’s boxes stuffed with papers and receipts no one will ever see. I know, I say. I love you, too. Broom.

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