National Poetry Month Day 6: “The Early Minutes of Without” by Michael Klein

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The Early Minutes of Without

You thought you were spared
falling in love with another drunk
now that you were sober and could feel
the ordinary grain that ran through everything.
You were awake in the great city and moved
among the civilians you couldn’t move among
before; structure time and dress for the weather.
And love did bring a man who told you once
after you came in from the dark and a cigarette that he
missed you. Already, that. He told you that a person
could miss somebody even more in the early minutes
of without.
You felt so close to him then – in the barely lit. And so you stayed.
And one day in the future, he drank. Summers, first.
Then, now.
Because people drink. It’s the truth. But you
had to remember it. And you looked at him sometimes
and how he was different in the different weather of
where the few drinks took him.
And you tried not to judge or argue or put a rule on the feeling
to make it formal. You tried to scan a bigger source of restlessness
about life – that it has to bear the opposite of living. You wanted
to say, it wasn’t him you didn’t want anymore, just not him drunk.
You wanted the man from the broken time of the barely lit – when
he was a kind of God in the firmament: dazzled by love
maybe even drunk with it.

Michael Klein


Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →