Cutlery clatters into the sink.
But always the characters, uniquely themselves,
only some decades older. They search
for their coats. You were, she reminds him,
our resident nomad, come to pitch your tent
here, sidewalks for sand, unaccustomed taboos:
Morningside Heights, one of your lives.
since the awkward goodbye? Before he goes—
East Africa his beat, Germany hers—he’ll
visit the nephew, the namesake in Boston
who drives a cab, sends a pittance each month
to a wellhead in—we’ll call it Sudan.
He explains how it works, this drip feed
of cash to Sudan from the United States:
cheap, fast. She’s not clear about this—he jots
her a website: it’s a place she can go.
So they won’t meet again...suddenly
Can you forgive me? he blurts—
a classmate’s apartment, Upper West Side,
the grown child’s room, bears
in tidy shrines, scrum of sloughed coats.
In the kitchen friends wash up. Sound
of laughter. Sound of water flowing
out of a tap. Yes, she replies, shocked
by the twinge, then ache, of remorse.
She “forgot”? And him—thirty years—
the place still hurts? It’s myself I can’t forgive,
she knows later. Right now, vague shame.
End of March. Maybe April. Street trees
are trying to bloom. The irretrievable
sits on the table, white as a plate. He holds her