The Bagel Shop

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It was the girl with the curly hair.
Seems like it’s always her in the morning;
Got a good memory,
She remembers my order completely,
She remembers both of our orders.

When I had the fight with the coffee shop next door,
You were quick to come to my defense,
When the barista attacked me:
“Can you not touch that?”
“Are you going to buy the paper?”
“Then can you not touch it?”
After the moment it took me to realize
this is not a joke,
there is not a camera filming me,
I get offended.
“It’s our policy.”
“You sound like a prissy little shit.”
You mediated, saying it wasn’t the principle, but the attitude.
I refused to purchase their coffee any longer — you continued.
“It is good coffee.”

Our relationship was based on opposites.
You are everything I’m not.
You did your homework,
Worked for the school newspaper,
Knew the name of every bird in every forest.
I dove into the lake without checking for depth
You told me the statistics of diving fatalities.
I looked up at the lamplights — “It’s like a structured universe.”
You shivered — “I should have brought a sweater.”

My father didn’t make the wedding,
Rained through most of the reception;
My sister told me I looked so happy.
“No really, I don’t think I’ve seen you so happy.”

I took a job near Litchfield
And you stayed in Massachusetts.
You kept most the furniture,
The kitchen table was mine,
So I took it.
You got that temporary thing from Ikea.
“It’s two years” I said. “A blink and I’ll be back.”
“Let’s plan the trip.”
“Yes, let’s plan the trip.”

I missed the woman with the curly hair.
Out of all things,
I missed the shop,
I missed sitting outside and reading the newspaper,
I missed that she knew both of our orders.
I even missed that little shit at the coffee shop.

After four years.
“I think I’m ready.”
“We have so much going on.”
“We said we would.”
“We said we’d talk about it.”

My dad’s boat sank in December.
“What is she so angry about?”
“I missed Christmas.”
“It’s important.”
“You’re Jewish. What about the kid?”
“What kid?”
“I thought she was pregnant.”
“Not anymore.”
“That’s too bad.”
“Don’t you think it’s too bad?”
“I said, yes.”
“Will you try again?”
“I don’t know.”
“Will you raise the kid Jewish?”
“Probably not.”
“But you’ll give him Christmas.”
“Why do you live on a boat?”
“It’s cheaper.”
“Sometimes I wish we weren’t us.”

In Costa Rica I can honestly say I wanted to kill you.
“But that isn’t what we want.”
“Why do you tell me what I want?”
“Because you don’t know. You think you do, but you can’t see ahead.”
“I can see now.”
“And what do you—”
“I see a person I want to push down a mountain.”
You looked up in the air
The wind was steady, as it was all day.
The clouds were moving quickly,
Or the earth was revolving too fast.
“I think I see a condor.”
“Who gives a shit.”

I stopped going to all our old haunts.
Stopped going to new haunts.
I woke up at five in the morning back in Litchfield, and opened my curtains.
The curtains let in blue light from the streets.
“Let in the blue.”

Shaved my beard.
Started running again.
Started brushing my teeth again.
I never remembered anything being quite so new,
So entertaining.
I never knew people had so many thoughtful things to say
I believed it.
I believed everyone.

I came to the bagel shop where
The woman with the curly hair
Smiled as I walked up
To the front counter.
I nodded my head.
She tilted her face
“What can I get for you?”

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