Marie Howe

One Day

One day the patterned carpet, the folding chairs,

the woman in the blue suit examining her split ends,

all of it will go on without me. I’ll have disappeared,

as easily as a coin under lake water, and few to notice the difference

– a coin dropping into the darkening – 

and West 4th Street, the sesame noodles that taste like too much peanut butter

lowered into the small white paper carton – all of it will go on and on –

and the I that caused me so much trouble? Nowhere

or grit thrown into the garden

or into the sticky bodies of several worms,

or just gone, stopped – like the Middle Ages,

like the coin Whitman carried in his pant pocket all the way to that basement

bar on Broadway that isn’t there anymore.

Oh to be in Whitman’s pocket, on a cold winter day,

to feel his large warm hand slide in and out, and in again.

To be taken hold of by Walt Whitman! To be exchanged!

To be spent for something somebody wanted and drank and found delicious.