It was over when you put me on the Amtrak,
toward Washington. You stood at the platform
and I went down the escalator. A piece of pink
gum on your leg, stuck from lugging
my suitcase through Midtown in July.

It was over before I came, in bed
with mono and a hundred drugs
a thousand miles away. Feverish,
pale, eighteen.

You lugged my bag five blocks
because the station had no storage,
and when I said, “Bye”
I couldn’t point
out the gum.

When I said, “See you in August,”
you said, “What?”

And it was over
before it began.


But years after that, it wasn’t over.

It wasn’t over when I saw you, “sorry,
so stoned,” on the museum balcony.

It wasn’t over in a cramped Union Sq. café
where I stared at anything but your face.

When I wept on the train or vomited Smacks
that were all I could eat one week in France,
writing to you with “Ingrid Bergman” on where I’d gone to trace your path.

Or when my therapist’s window faced that same café,
half a decade later.

Like death, like work,
it was never



It was so over.

I never owned a bar to tell its pianist
to avoid mention of you, I never sang,

I never did a heroic thing.
I kissed you, caught mono and
died inside, down an escalator,
entombed on the Amtrak.

It was beyond over.

When I emerged
the whole world looked
at my face and said, “What?...
It’s so over.”