Until, New York

for R. Tillinghast and H.T. Chapman

I wanted to send you a postcard of the room
where the two of us writhed
between interjections of silence:
the extension cords to lamps that refused to shine,
neighbors never seen but always heard,
the imaginary cat that longed to sleep in reality.

One complete with vignettes of hand-wringing
and the constant inching
back and forth
atop the matchstick trestlework
of shared beds unmade.

With hearts embalmed in bourbon
and pickled laments
left in the cupboard,
forgotten trophies
of live-in lovers
and passers through
best immortalized
by the exchanges in the ashtray.

Those were some of the things.
Dishes were either washed passive-aggressively
or not at all.
Footprints often littered the foyer.
Enthusiasm and complaint were married in conversation
trembling forth from the terrible passion
and suffering that circuited through
the empty spaces between them,
then up the haunted staircases,
onto abandoned rooftops,
and back down again.

But mostly the mail never came on Sundays,
books were left dog-eared and idling,
and plans were made,
never begun.

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