Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.
-Jorge Luis Borges


Four days before you died you said
you had a handful of empty pockets,
and a bucket full of broken dreams.
It was front porch talking. Roots like
Kentucky kudzu, and you’re speaking
to the girl who wants to be eroded,
or just dug up. That was then;
and then you left me drumming
in the mock winter wind, but first
you said, I can’t find anything wrong
with her man. And you meant me!
But, Tom, there were many snowballing
wrong things, and verily they came
as precipitations of forgetting.
Believe me when I say I counted
and counted them in any hole with an ear.


I ask you to imagine my life after yours—
my daily practice of misrecognizing.
They blamed me for cubing you up
and making you deep blue. Recall,
towers had fallen soundless that autumn,
but what horrors did you miss? Not many.
For no one had painted an apocalyptic
landscape in your lifetime, and besides,
you only loved your Grandpa and having
your hair spun in my hands. Which has
changed and which remains? See, I’m just
as tucked in as you. I dreamt you put reigns
on your head and led me out of his bed.
But awake, the door out of hell smiles open,
and I build one more waiting room
in which to pity myself.
MONICA McCLURE is a recent graduate of NYU's creative writing program. She lives and teaches in New York City. This is the first appearance of her work in a literary journal.