She follows you everywhere. You’ve heard other people say
they’ve forgotten a voice, or a face, but right now
even the exact quality of her fingers touching your shoulder—
how she might brush your temple with her fingertips—
is perfectly vivid. As if a moment ago she stepped onto a train,
and a month from now she’ll step back off again, not even
needing to search the station for you, her arms opening wide
as she drops her bag at her feet, the tweed of her jacket royal blue
and pulling at her shoulders; half a world richer, her eyes bright
and quick as the sky, or water, and she’ll fold her arms around you
and you’ll take that single deep breath you haven’t been able to take.
Her arms around you will crush your waist, a little, and make your ribs
fit too tight. You won’t want her to let go. You’ll both keep your backs
to the train as you step away, quick-quick, her jacket and scarf wound
tight around her against the cold there was in that half a world,
your eyes fixed only ahead, or on her face, the blush of breathing
all through her skin, her slightly startled eyes as she realizes she escaped.
She follows you, pulling her case behind her, buttoning her jacket
as she looks around the station—the gray walls and the others,
coming and going, bright and loud but fading in the dark—ascending
the steps out of the train station—why ascending? why
are you underground?—and her steps are silent, though
she’s wearing her blue heels, and your shoulders itch suddenly
with the need to turn around—but she’s right behind you, isn’t she?
Your girl? A moment ago you heard the wheels of her suitcase
clipping up the stairs. Your footsteps echo off the stone walls.
Don’t turn around. If you keep going, she’ll follow you. If you forget
the need to see her face. You remember it well enough already, anyway.
It’s only when you stop and think—was there green in the blue? were there
freckles along her jaw?—but if you don’t look, she was with you all along:
stepping to the top step, her shoe slipping a little on the slick gray floor;
the wheels of her suitcase crossing the threshold; her face, turned skyward.