In the two seconds that I saw her face,
passed it quickly in a coffee shop I never go to,
I remembered how her dress billowed that night.
her hands clutched at something invisible, holding
both her skirt and herself down, I couldn’t
tell you her name but I remembered that night;
cold and loud
smoke in the air, cigars dangling
like tiny stars — the ashes fell out
of our mouths and until our stomachs &throats
warmed to the idea of new beginnings, so celebrated.
&I remember she stood at the back,
not wanting to breathe for fear of disease —
afraid she’d catch this, too.
I remember how she looked at the grass
&I wondered if she knew how her hair looked
wet when the sprinklers attacked us
And she didn’t want to leave us like we so often did.
How we became cold,
the boys’ suits ruined but no one cared
threw down their jackets, handkerchiefs, &ties
and danced because this is the night they remembered how to.
Hands held high, held together, held in the gaps between their knees
I watched them become children under that moon
&I only wanted to be one of them,
born again and a kind of new.
Something happened that night and she was a witness
to the lightning crack and thunder
to the mess we were and weren’t
to the choking on our tobacco and tears
to the fabric clinging to our skin
to the burning in our legs and arms
to the ends we never saw coming.
In the two seconds that she saw my face,
passing in that coffee shop I never go to,
did she remember how my dress billowed that night, too?