I am sorry to say that again, today, we did not meet.
The trees against the winter sky slowly lose
their aim. There are too many shallow things: distance
of airplanes, the comma splice, the solicitation more urgent
than need, the mailbox lacking evidence — looks
as if again, today, no one has attempted to touch

strangers on sidewalks. (I am sure that you touched
me quite purposefully when handing over my change; when we meet
next, I will give you such a wink, such a stare
as to knock you off your feet, but you will, as you must, lose
me again to the next order, the next cup, the next urgent
customer’s request.) There exists such a distance

between emptiness and the first sip; it is the distance
between a missed train and love, the allowances for touch
being owned by angels alone. Night is urgent.
Night never waits for companionship; it meets
you bare on your bedspread. Do not think twice: you will lose
that phone number; in the sky, the black clouds and I espy

another version of loneliness: the man in the fedora never looks
this way; he exists only in the movies, in a black-and-white distant
past where love used to happen with diamonds. Maybe you lost
your nerve; maybe in a dream, I allowed for the omission, having touched
the pomegranates, mistaking them for strange persimmons. Met
and dappled with oppositions, the posted placards so pressing

among a mass of personal want ads urgently
expressing: in the event of an emergency, look
to coincidences, the old woman in the woods, contact
your local soothsayer, dowager, zodiacs afar.
(I was wearing a pink scarf.) If you dare to lay hands
on the sleeper, the dream will become lost

on other mornings, and blackbirds will shake loose
the eyes of nesting birds. The garments of the sky, pressed
like ancestral ghosts, hang between heaven and dirt, touching
a day that is already dressed and departing. Sight
too grows dim and optical instruments scan distances
where the minute hand and the hour hand do indeed meet

but only touch briefly before moving apart again. Toss out
then the agenda badly planned: an insane plane is eager
for take off. Keep the life vest to your chest; look: in the distance, distress flares.