Slipping By

Katrina Kaye

from across a litter infested courtyard
in front of chipped blue four-plexes
he calls to her: silently, inside the wall of his mind
every time She slips by

he learned her name once
off a postcard misdirected
wish you were here
scrawled in handwriting which could have been his own
he never thought She looked like a Caroline

She can’t see him; he is too still in the sunlight
She can’t feel his presence; he breathes too softly
She doesn’t hear him: praying, wishing

She is the polite smile in place of words
She is the lover who stopped returning his phone calls
She is the daughter who forgot his birthday
She is the friend who has become too busy to share conversations about the weather
She is the son too ashamed to introduce him to his new fiancé
She is the shifty eyes saying she has somewhere better to go
She is the granddaughter who doesn’t remember the songs
he sang to her as she lied awake in her crib

She is his everything, every person, every hope, everything
and he does not exist to her

She doesn’t cross the courtyard as much anymore
got a new job in the Heights and new boyfriend in the valley
never really home he figures
still he watches her slipping by behind sliding wooden doors

“Slipping By” is previously published in Nerve Cowboy (2004).

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