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Loving Old Men

This actually happened a few days ago, but
I fell so hard I had to share it with the world.


Today I fell in love with Billy Collins.
After work I drove to someone else’s store
to drop off a book for a friend.
They said I’d just missed him:
Big Al with booming voice
who missed his book about artisan bread.
Instead of just going home
I found the secret spot in the middle
where for three hours there was only
Literary Criticism-
poetry poetry poetry
in two quiet columns as large as the sky
(where no one else ever seems to stand or fly).
Love at hundredth sight,
I found a man I see often and
have even touched a few times
at work unobservant of treasure.
This time
I let hungry eyes measure his lines,
an act too-long delayed by some play of the universe.
He was like a stranger I pass each evening at the park-
I’ve been curious
but without the bravery of a child
to greet or to speak,
or to do more than smile.
Beautiful familiar face
nestled between Chiasson and Crane
with words about a penis at a typewriter,
making me laugh aloud over Sung Dynasty names
and then remember that I had forgotten
the rest of the world was near.
Strange looks from teenagers
who thought I was weird
for being on the floor with a notebook/dancing pen.
I decided right then when they decided to speak
I’d had enough of my bra
and the shoes on my feet;
it was time to make the other books whisper.
He became the oldest man so quickly introduced to my bed-
so powerful he kept me from where I’m usually led
seeking colorful sadness or meaning in flowers,
or Sendaks that hide because they were drawn
instead of written.
And now I pause
because I realize I am smitten with two-
one man dead and one man new
at the youthful age of seventy-one…

don’t tell Maurice
I’m having fun with someone else.

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