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After All This Small Talk, You’d Think There’d Be No Weather Left

— Patrick James Errington

“Quand je parle : la mort parle en moi.”
— Maurice Blanchot

I should never have brought you up.
Instead rely, as ever, on the weather

to delineate you, our conversation, like
a muslin rain that ribbons down to gather

nouns like birchbark, windowpane,
because to name even a street, even that

whiled-away house, and the small creature
dead in the eaves like some thought

thought better of, not quite forgotten
in the leaf mulch, not forgotten.

I came, once, so close to loving you.
Or I think I did. Close enough, at least,

to make out the shape of love, like any
good drizzle could tell the outline

of a tin roof with its teeth. Like skin
can always tell a tooth from a touch.

From time to time, we almost touch.
Our coffee gulped down quick to keep

quiet, scalding, making me all-too alive,
aware of my mouth and the sentence

buried there, spoken not to say but to
shape something out of silence. I want,

so desperately, to ask you something.
If I could just remember what. After

all this time, I might have forgotten your
name. Maybe it’s for the best. If I do,

you might still make it out of this alive.

Read more from Issue No. 23 or share on Facebook and Twitter.