“Even the Gas Station Attendant Here Is Nice to Me” by Leigh Stein

I lost my job at the factory, but before you get mad
I want you to know that last night I woke up in the snow
without shoes, and I didn’t call up to your window;
I let you sleep because I remembered our agreement.

This is what happened: he caught me in the freezer
with his copy of Ulysses and asked me what I thought
I was doing. What could I be doing, I said, what
are my options. I still had on my latex gloves

and I know you won’t want to hear this part, but
I opened a carton of macaroons with my teeth.
You have always wanted to do that, he said. Yes,
I said. He said, I can’t let you do that. So I ate one.

He turned off the lights. I took a yellow cake
off a shelf and lit twenty candles to warm our hands.
How is this night different from all other nights?
There was a time when I didn’t have to sleepwalk

everywhere. You remember. I was here. But
then I got used to waking up every morning
in a different city, without you, without the same
sun, the same lack of a view, all that scaffolding,

none of the sea, every piece of mail a sympathy card.
I can never go back there. I stole his book. When you
go to work every morning, I walk to Jerusalem.
I am answering your letter. You are ruining my life.

 

Leigh Stein, from Dispatch from the Future: Poems

3 thoughts on ““Even the Gas Station Attendant Here Is Nice to Me” by Leigh Stein

  1. Reading this is like biting into a ripe mango in public and not caring how stained your bloused would be or how people would stare at you as you like the juice off your forearms and hands and just relishing it’s sweetness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: “Even the Gas Station Attendant Here Is Nice to Me” by Leigh Stein | Madame Curie

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