Broad Street

Broad Street

How many thousands of nights ago
since she last lay in your arms?
Missing her was a way of life for the longest time
until life took over – bills to be paid, work to be done.
You met others in need of laughter
at the same moment as you.

Distractions adequately function
for weeks, years. Happiness usually lingers.
Something to read, conversations to enjoy.
Decisions to be made: groceries, meals, laundry.
Family and friends needing opinion.
Weddings, funerals, parties, dates.
Social justice and the lack thereof.

You never know the spark.
Maybe an email comes or a phone call
goes unreturned. The sadness
that swells has nothing to do
with these present circumstances;
not the one who sent the message you didn’t want
or the one who didn’t make the call you expected.
All you can think about are her
dark eyes looking into yours,
the way she felt when she held you close
and sighed your name.
That world only you now know.

Memories drip then pour then gush.
No warning before the river of blood
floods the village near the banks.
No matter how old you get you can still be surprised
by how instantly an ancient scar opens,
this wound again fresh. That smile you wear?
Just another disguise.

You can never explain but you keep explaining
until you’re the Happy Hour barfly
muttering gibberish at whatever is on
the television or that guy in the threadbare
raincoat wandering the woods
alongside the tracks, screaming at passing trains
so no one can hear his pain.

Your friends and neighbors
wave and chat. You realize
your true self is not you now
or the difference between
who they see when you’re outside
and that person only you see
in the bathroom mirror,
but that self at that café,
corner of Broad Street,
your regular spot, the chatty owner
always talked about the weather,
one time changed the subject
and said you two really seem in love,
it is a wonderful thing.

Copyright 2105—held by author