Through Spanish Harlem

For Marie Howe

[This is the on-ramp to my poem, Marie,
and were you to get your hands on it,

you’d wipe it away like fog on glass,
and you’d be right to:] The day I met you

downtown instead of in your dim, be-sofa’d
office, you folded your girl legs over each other

and looked out at me through the famous tumult
of your hair, seeming never to blink. Tea bags

like down-darting kites, you spent longer
on me than you ever had and your finger gently

tapped my book while you said, This is where
things begin.
Which cut almost half the poem.

Which was the right thing to do. [And here’s
the off-ramp, which is that that day, I refused

public transit and walked the length of Manhattan,
Bronx-bound, sun-lit, knowing, from you, that

I could say less. That I could get it right.]

Katherine Fallon received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Permafrost, Meridian, Foundry, and others. Her chapbook, The Toothmakers’ Daughters, is available through Finishing Line Press. She teaches at Georgia Southern University, and shares domestic square footage with two cats and her favorite human, who helps her zip her dresses. She can be found at https://www.katherinefallon.com.

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