I suppose you know I was in love with you.

All those letters. We were a pair

of regular epistolary fiends.

That’s why I came back to Madison in ’82.

But the very first day, right after you picked me up

at the airport and dropped me

at Mel’s place, I saw you downtown

with another guy.

So I thought, “Well, I guess this isn’t going to happen.”

I burned every letter when I got home.

All of them.

And that’s another reason why

I’m an idiot.

At least I would have them to read now.

So long afterwards.

Your sister?

The anorexia/bulemia.

That still haunts me to this day.

You see, I always wondered if you

were the anorexic one.

She looked so healthy

when I went to visit your mom.

You were the one, I thought,

who looked a little too thin.

Man, I was crazy

about you.

And now you’re long married,

probably with at least two beautiful children

and living way over in Albuquerque, New Mexico,

doing God knows what

with sodium pump lasers and space exploration

and whatever.

I don’t understand any of it.

But I’ve painstakingly read through

all your papers published on the web.


I can imagine the life

we might have had.

We would have been world travellers.

It would have been Paris and baguettes.

Long, narrow, and crunchy. With lots of butter and good red wine.

I can see England, Ireland and Guinness.

I can feel Australia and New Zealand, Japan, Norway and Korea.

And of course Switzerland.

Who named Tuffli wouldn’t want to go Swiss for a while?

You would be beautiful in Swiss snow.

You were always beautiful in snow.

Your scarves a stunning detail.

And you smoked those God awful herb cigarettes

and those even more God awful Turkish cigarettes

that made the record store stink to high heaven,

but I loved you for the scent afterward,

your sweet tobacco smell.

On you a perfume.

On others maybe not so much.

With you some further hint of leather.

Those impromptu dinners were always a treat for me.

To think my farewell lunch with you

was at McDonald’s.

I wanted to grab your hand when we walked there

from West Towne Mall.

I loved the way you slouched and crossed your legs

in the cushy chairs at Porta Bella.

Never got to actually see them because you always wore slacks.

But I know they were long.

Still wonderfully,

like with the aforementioned scarves,

you were always quite the fashion plate.

What an idiot.

Remember our trip to the Munch exhibit?

That scream is me.

Talk story

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