in london last tuesday, walking streets i’d never seen with a woman i’d never met, but who’d graciously offered to host me for the evening (she, the daughter of a friend), i walked past a man sitting on the sidewalk. a “street person”… his dog standing a few feet away from him, his backpack on the ground to his side.
his gaze was distant and wide – something without focus or intention.
i had described his long hair once in a poem when i was in 8th grade – i’d called it silverqueen, a corn common in new jersey, where he and i grew up, whose nibs are of a hundred shades of silver white gold and yellow.
i watched his eyes, which watched mine, but did not engage. time stopped, but bodies continued in their paths. there was no breath, there was not sound, there was no imperfect thing in those several paces as i watched a man i’d known in another life meet me in a land neither of us had once seen.
p.? i could have said, pushing breath, vibrating vocal chords, enabling teeth and tongue toward spoken syllables. but i didn’t. say. one. word.
that night, i dreamed of j., another 8th grader at the time of the silverqueen metaphor, who, for whatever strange 8th grade circumstance, had heard me read my list of p. metaphors in the stairwell during some rule breaking moment when we were meant to have been accounted for, somewhere out in the school yard during a recess. in the dream, j., now an adult himself, like me & p., spoke sternly or adamantly. and that’s all i know for sure.