Spotting You In a Crowd

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They said that you were stuck up,
But that was not good enough for me,
As I waited for you by a half covered drain
— With the ill-prospect of unprovoked rain –,
While they were walking towards me, past me,
Desultorily — you, I kept an eye for,
Sweating underneath my clothes, in that heat.

It was January, then,
And ten years later,
We agree that of you a verse I must write.
But, we are strangers now — like voters in a polling booth —
Though your angel-like image is yet half dissolved to blot.
My feelings have long crumpled, as I felt for you back then,
Only scattered souvenirs of your youth remain.

But, I remember, how you mattered to me,
How there was about it an innocence
In that love with which I thought your mere breath I held.
It was a matter of mattering that would only happen
Back then, when you are spirited and lost to your own;
When that moment’s fragrance will stay on and would linger
Long long after that touch you’d scorn.

Undated file photo of Etan Patz
2013-11-07

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