there’s a bike there too,
gray Schwinn without a chain.
I think the girl we heard moving out
must have left them.
(If it isn’t gone by trash-day,
will you call?
Ask Travis to mend it,
and tell him I’ll pay him.)
I know you hate that I walk alone,
but I need it.
You remind me this isn’t
one of my European cities.
Try not to worry.
Tonight, I sat by the river until I could
hear the geese but I couldn’t see them.
Then the train passed over,
and I knew it was probably nine.
A man like a shadow came,
and my lips were wet with tea
and my breath hot with cigarette smoke.
(I didn’t mean to buy them. I know you’re quitting.
It’s just that I walked up to the store, to escape
the paint smell, and they were there, buy one, get one free.)
And the shadow man asked me
to drink beer with him,
and if the river was nice.
And because I am a girl, slim-waisted, and pretty,
I told him “no, I don’t know you.”
But he told me how he sees me around this town
all the time.
“I see you around here all the time.”
Probably he and I are the only ones walking these streets.
He left, and I went to the alley,
and carried the bookshelf in.
Now, the cat is rubbing his face on it.
He thinks an alien, whatever doesn’t
smell of him.