Loneliness

By JOHN FREEMAN

 

Sundays I’d walk down the hill toward the green four o’clock
   dark beginning like a rumor—
always she was leaning over the counter, head tipped toward
   a tiny phone,
her husband turning the pages of a 
Daily Mail like a man
    whose suspicions of human nature were 
    being fed fresh evidence.
Stale fryer fat, ale, black and tans in the fridge.
They knew I’d be there before the match started.
You alright yeah 
Every Sunday a matinee I attended for three years
as volcanoes exploded
and she died,
white slipped into my beard
wars began and others ended.
Each Sunday the words gathering new weight 
 strangeness
as words do when you repeat them.
You alright 
I didn’t know but by halftime if I wasn’t too pissed
I’d walk home in the furred darkness before the beer wore off
and a sudden gust of wind could blow cold air on my heart.

John Freeman is the founder of Freeman’s, a literary annual, and executive editor at Alfred A. Knopf. He is also the author and editor of a dozen books. Wind, Trees, his new collection of poems, will be published this fall by Copper Canyon Press.

[Purchase Issue 24 here.] 

Loneliness

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