Portraits of a Former Lover
after Sei Shonagon
On the road to Concepción, a flattened hummingbird outlined in its own blood.
On the D train on Valentine’s Day, a dark Dominican woman from my block, her only man the little
man in her lap.
In my unlit apartment on Valentine’s Day, me on a soiled sofa above rotten piping, drinking Macallan
from the bottle. My cat’s tail curls into a question mark.
Drinking from some woman’s calyx. Dry tumblers on her nightstand at 6 a.m.
Puffed with wind, a black shopping bag floats above bare birch trees, then drifts down to the
ground like a wounded balloon.
Bougainvillea blazes across the lawn and up the walls of a blue bungalow.
On the Grand Concourse, I think I see her strolling ahead of me, in jean shorts and espadrilles. I call
out, “Rhonda. Rhonda!” But she does not answer. I drift down into the subway.
On Bleecker, curtains of rain hang from eaves. The handles of broken umbrellas protrude from a
battered wastebasket like knife handles jutting out of a corpse.