Kinetics2006-07-21 15:37:40 ET

Even when you weren’t coming or going, your wooden door—windowless, painted white, and closed, was of greater interest than my text—a manual on kinetic energy that pulled me by aeroplane across the Atlantic, to convert into English from American. My deadline for editing was set twice as far out as I would need, so I could move slow, and I would…move slow…line by line—thirty eight to every page that was without a diagram—because I didn’t know a soul in London.

Your bedroom window—up and to the right, diagonal from mine, overlooked the same street. When you came home from work you would go inside before returning to check your post at the curb. An outing—because on Fridays and Saturdays you always went out and didn’t check it at all.
The man who came to your door two to three times a week had a goatee then. Was it for you that he finally shaved? I know you started dating when your bedroom light remained off all night and you started grabbing your mail on the way in, before rushing back out in a fresh outfit. That purple knit sweater with the high collar—you were beautiful—that black dress with the inch thick straps you wore to the theater. He wore sneakers with everything.

I met you within a month of my arrival. My fourth poem for you, still incomplete, was in my breast pocket, beneath my cardigan, beneath my overcoat, the day we nearly collided in the street. Somehow that was enough for me to walk you to the tube, and I think you allowed it because of my American English.

“That’s quite a ways, even by aeroplane,” you said.

You were on your way to Acton. I nodded like I knew it and quickly said goodbye so I could memo it when you entered the tunnel. I wrote your name. Then his—Michael Hopper, Acton?

Six additional poems before my airplane landed. Mailbox was full—neighbor must have forgotten my return date. Empty it later because we never nearly collided again for me to give you my address.

Downstairs—keys in the basket and a mineral water. Upstairs—a looser shirt and socks left at the foot of the bed. Downstairs—the cds I couldn’t pack, and the beginning of a global search.

It was a couple days finding you—your profile on one of those meeting people websites that are everywhere now. You listed yourself as single. Maybe no more sneakers. Maybe he ran out, or maybe you’re fishing for whom you should run to.

With you diagonal, overlooking the same ocean—my joy—watching you move:

• You’ve logged on
• You’ve updated your profile
• You’ve posted
• A new blog
• A new pic
•Your hair is getting longer

It’s Sunday and both our mailboxes are full. I’ll begin a new text in the morning. Only thirty four lines to a page. Between them, you’ll be coming and going through cyberspace. Refresh. No diagrams. Where did you go? Refresh. No diagrams but maps and color photos. Refresh. Refresh. There you are. I see you. You’re moving again, and it’s enough because I don’t know a soul in Virginia.

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