surprise meeting

this evening I saw him:
I-who-is-at-death, in shadowed bathroom light
he held my gaze and when
I moved, he didn’t. He was locked there, true story,
with an easy severity, he held my gaze
cropped hair, a name in a Teuton saga
skald caste, pliant with identity –
his own form of lived, loose warriorhood
he looked directly at me.
I could sense there around him
the universes of a great many books I’ve not yet read
the energy of his parents, whom he knew as friends
and will soon know again, and the vocal ghosts
of many a woman I’ve not met
and somewhere close, the dim sugary crimson light
of one who prevailed; I do not know this older woman
but she was there in the background, pagan all the way
an aura of red, but
it was him looking at me, nobody else
his stare said
“you have unlearnt what you’ve unlearnt
those days of remorse, wages & loans hacked into
a flying loam of red wine, vomiting up the world
none of it mattered
being grated by the ignorant, and
those tailspins of desperation, as if any woman could really
warrant such dumb need; you’ve unlearnt all that – good;
we’ll take that as a given. Now, boyo,
don’t you fuck it up. You destroy the skeleton
of each second, every second, pulverize them
pulverize it all. Revel in this.
You see me boyo, you can’t unsee me now
So don’t you fuck it up. . . ”

And I turned, and he didn’t
he stayed fixed there in the mirror
in the corner of my eye

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