I could say you were in the back of my mind the whole time,
but that would be a fib. You were in the back of my mind
part of the time, and that part was the worst part.
I could tell you that I had been waiting here a long time for you,
and that seeing you peer around the corner just now
blew my mind, but that would be only a half-truth.
I had been waiting, but then I ordered a plate of spaetzle
and a bottle of Grolsch, and the taste of nutty bitter so entranced
me, so complemented the dumplings that I forgot about you.
I could say that whenever I can't get to sleep I think about you,
and that visions of you fill me with intangible laughter.
But you would probably see right through that, know it to be untrue.
You could bounce in here in your apron and your blue glasses
and tell me a thousand of your own visions and thoughts,
remind me of the cows we tipped in Ottawa, the canasta
tournaments, the things we knew we had in common.
You could put an exclamation point at the end of your soliloquy
by reciting a litany of my faults, proving you knew them
as you knew your own, demonstrating that we were flesh
of each other's flesh, bone of bone. But that would only waste
seven minutes of your time and seven of my own, which
is becoming increasingly precious though spent increasingly alone.
I could unplug you like a television set right now, shut you down,
eliminate you from the game. I could cross off your name.
But I think you might come back at some point down the road,
perhaps as a character in a novel, perhaps as a genie in a bottle,
though perhaps not. I might be able to forget about you after all.