rounding the corner, my footsteps carry me hastily
down the same corridor you’re bursting into—
or out to—
and you stop, step back, face and body bear left.
how many feet between us? 40, 20, 10—
together marching past a dozen doors—
5 and we’re beside each other
(and I’m beside myself
in fear and indecision about
how this’ll play out).
thank God you have a destination in mind,
I think in mine, ‘cause I can’t decide,
when I’m fixated on one thing.
beyond your doors you disappear
to prepare for the Syracuse snow
you ask might be too much for me,
and I hang out on the white wall and wait,
shaking and uncertain,
like an autumn tree’s last leaf.
I hear people I know leave their labs,
and I wonder if they wonder,
what I’m doing here.
a swapped hat and two layers warmer,
you venture outside to journey with me
across the street and unplowed quadrangle,
as the accumulation continues on
and around us.
not too many people to dodge
for they are in their classes,
or even wiser, in their homes,
on this sad, miserable day.
200 meters from our chemistry world
and directly adjacent to this old chapel,
you swing open—Thank you—the door.
after a shuffle and a swiping of soles,
we descend a staircase to a coffee shop
that you didn’t know sold food, too,
and once you’ve got your caffeine fix—
cheap and black—
I wonder if you’ll make a connection
to my You-want-something’s declination,
when I’ve said it all, and we’re done.
now, to your question:
Sort of, they’ve got some place to sit—
they call it the Noble Room—
and I’m sorry, but Yup, this one,
so you brush the crumbs aside,
and we take the table and a pair of chairs.
removing my hat and mittens and
unbuttoning my coat doesn’t buy me
enough time to figure out where to start
my confession of an obsession
a line I haven’t crossed.
you don’t know why I’m so out of sorts,
why I go through the hallways looking so down,
but this is why we’re here:
two feet apart, taking time from our lives,
in a place quiet enough for us to talk.
(there’s a hell in my head I can’t escape.
my voice of reason I recognize,
and it’s fighting a good one,
against a voice I don’t think is mine.
always a commotion, a hysteria—
my mind feels so crowded and clouded
like it’s a crap place to be—
and I, on the outside, can’t do anything,
but side with the stranger.
except now, ‘cause I’m with you,
against her wishes.) it’s time.
I’m too scared to know what you’re seeing,
so my hands are suddenly interesting,
and I lean heavily on this square surface,
staring at my fidgeting fingers,
as I let my trembling words spill out
and hit my ears and yours.
we talk, and I wonder if the others can hear me
as I share solemn secrets and silences for an hour
with you, in a basement on a Friday afternoon.