I’ll see you later. That’s what you said and it
was as though you meant you weren’t seeing me,
as if for weeks I’d been fading, blurring, so
you could barely make me out, and that for
now you regretted this but that later (in the
day, the century?) you hoped, even intended, to
survey me face to heel, a promise I’d be seen
at last all in all, my anxiety and love, my spleen.
I can’t do this anymore. And what, one is
left to wonder, is this? Such a duplicitous
accordion of a pronoun, this. This napkin.
This thistle. This ache. This cosmos.
This intimacy that you used to, but can no
longer, do. Do? But was it just a thing you did,
an action, a series of verbs? Can be mean do
as if it’s your calendar that’s changed, not you?
This isn’t easy for me. No. But that’s only
because I’m here. When I’m no longer here
it won’t have been so hard; at least it will recede
into a past pale as an old aquarelle’s misty
wash. What you mean is, please sympathize
with me as I cause you pain because then
it won’t be difficult for me to say so long
meaning that you were right and I was wrong.
Robert Wexelblatt is Professor of Humanities at Boston University’s College of General Studies. He has published essays, stories, and poems in a wide variety of journals, two story collections, Life in the Temperate Zone and The Decline of Our Neighborhood, a book of essays, Professors at Play; his novel, Zublinka Among Women, won the Indie Book Awards First Prize for Fiction. His most recent book is a short novel, Losses.