in the elevator last evening
i realized there are still some things
i cannot bring myself to discuss:
my blue streak last autumn, for example,
or the time all of us drove to escondido
and it turned out i’d left my wallet.
i thought of the women inside
as soviet spies; elevators are like that.
everyone is pretending to ignore you,
but you’re having the weighed-and-sorted feeling.
you end up saying something vapid or worse,
something loudly and obviously cruel.
so, the next time you ask me
about that horrible semester abroad
or whether i knew she’s in town,
expect a certain amount of coldshouldering
before you get a straight answer.
don’t be put off if i am unusually stupid
or suddenly red in the face.
and please, don’t do it in an elevator:
the music, the whooshing lift, the dings, the mirrors,
it was all too much, too front-and-center.
wait until the quiet carpeting
and the open corridors beyond.


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