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everything we never knew

I was hired to assemble poem collages in a Financial District office on Saturdays. I am the only one here. I sit by a window and look at sunlight aging on a brick wall across the alley. Sunlight expires in pale strips across my forearm. The person who hired me said it's okay to drink on the job. I cut pieces of text from moldy textbooks I found in the morning. I eat lunch in the cafeteria. The cafeteria is open, but the kitchen is closed. I gather food and soda from the vending machine and sit at a table, thinking of how I should re-arrange the clipped pieces of text. By late afternoon, I grow weary of the smell of carpet. The sun retracts all the light from my forearm. I chase it to another corner of the office. It makes me sleepy, like summertime airports in the desert. I wish I still knew you. I want to kiss you in the sudden quiet of failed air conditioning. I finish my poem and give it to the payroll clerk on the fire escape. He shakes my hand and gives me a coupon for a free jug of wine redeemable after sundown.

Next week, I am scheduled to do the same thing in a parking attendant booth in the corner of a vacant lot on the corner of Absence & Forgetfulness. Someone with bad sinuses will attempt to sell me hotdogs and soda in the leaning shadows of a failed dream. I will watch the security cameras. And they will watch me. All the windows are like closed-circuit television screens documenting stasis on a Saturday afternoon.

I will return to my motel. At the end of the day. Open a bottle of failed red sunlight. And try to recall all the graffiti tributes to your face someone left under the overpass at sundown.

I miss everything we had. And everything we never knew.

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