I miss the man four tables over,
sitting alone, tapping his glass.
I miss the man waiting with notebook
in the class I never took.
I turn too late to the man in the gallery
admiring the same painting,
the man leaving the filling station,
his suit coat over his empty seat.
I miss the man jogging the footpath
an hour before I arrive,
the man four up in the theatre,
three aisles over in the grocery.
I miss the man standing
in his own backyard,
looking at the same April stars,
thinking about the woman
who took the other elevator.
Tonight when we turn alone in our beds,
the invisible one is half-asleep on our pillows.
We feel the breath of the other.
For a moment our fingertips touch.
This is a reprint of work originally published in Jam Today.
Maryfrances Wagner’s books include Salvatore’s Daughter, Light Subtracts Itself, Red Silk (winner of the Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence), Dioramas and Pouf. Poems have appeared in New Letters, The Midwest Quarterly, The Laurel Review, Voices in Italian Americana, Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry (Penguin Books), Literature Across Cultures (Pearson/Longman), Bearing Witness, The Dream Book: An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women (winner of the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation), et al. She co-edits the I-70 Review.