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It Washes Away and then You Find You Are Happy

It was nice to meet your boyfriend
but I am unsure about the slope of the driveway
it is not easy, requires an emergency break

So different
nostalgia
for subway piss and bearded boys

When I am really ill
when I just can’t stand it any longer
I go there sometimes

just to walk
an infusion of life
nowhere to get to really

No one in particular I want to see
affords the greatest chance
of anonymity

I could otherwise not afford
the smells of strangers
and warmth coming off a pool at night

The coming and going
sometimes just staying
were I to choose, I would choose dying

The bed and breakfast
in the Catskills
would be okay

For now I walk on gravel
and repeat to myself the sandy road”
a fine, Pavlovian sentence

I can’t hear crickets there
the humid summer
stops their talking

But I can see that silence
my breath leaving my mouth
under the porch light—which is nice

You want warmth
fibers purring
and striated

Two years ago
contracture
on a long cold strike

I came to
this buzzing in my head
my eyes blurring underground

I won’t bore you with details beyond
“my head swivels like a chair”
face numb, jaw clenched

For two years waiting
to wake up
and get my face back

There’s a hurting
that makes me want
to pulverize my mouth

This urge
this weakness twitching
down the arms, legs, chest

Okay, let me write a book
slough off this strange sensation
and give it away

Tissue, bone, skin, tooth,
run warm water over
your seizing hand

She has made pour-over coffee—
calmly washes the mug—
will she find me out?

Last thing I want
is to be a pity—
a boring story if I ever conjured one

I’d like some friends
I said to a woman
in an airport bar

What kind?
the only kind
I’ve missed so far

A few fine souls
up here
in the evergreens

I’m sure of it now
a sense that humanity could have surprised me
made me rethink a lot of things

Thank you
if nobody ever says it again
there you are

For what?
there is no for what
sometimes

I learned pretty late
closed-eyed hunter that I am
that desire is not a perpetual drive

Sometimes it’s coffee during the daytime
a bed and breakfast
and the good sun that pisses off the crickets

In the best moments
it washes away
and then you find you are happy

Marie Landau

IG: @marie.landau

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