And so you find she left because
she did not like to stand on concrete
for too long. Now you feel the bone
and the painted floor in your shoe—
what did she say again and again,
or only once? “The lace is effaced.”
“The lace, effaced.”
What you say is what you heard said,
not what was said. As the way you begin
to see those you’ve seen only once.
When the time comes to twirl her hair
a small finger of red is all that will count.
Outside, the tingle-tangle of the afternoon
streams out before you,
between opposing buildings
and empty spaces: walk
through a tag and dregs sale,
the sidewalk and the sky.
A T-shirt, a stain, a one speed bike,
probably another false alarm.