First Date

Bob Hicok
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Do you know you have a needle in your arm, I said to her.
It was snowing and she wore a red dress. O, she said,
pulled it out and put it in her bag. I looked in—
it was a big bag full of needles. The snow built a room
around us, a room that walked as we walked, a room
that was prettier the messier it was. You’re dead,
aren’t you, I said when we got to the theater. I know
I don’t feel the cold—if that’s dead, I’m dead.
It seemed better to walk than sit in the dark
with a séance of light beaming over our heads,
we headed east and moved among the oldest homes,
most of them sleeping. When I looked back, it was my feet
that had left no tracks. Whichever house we decide is ours
will turn out to have been ours all along, as soon
as we decide it is ours—I laughed at this
but she was serious. So we chose, and the next day,
a neighbor waved and called me Bill when I went for the paper,
the toaster knew how dark I wanted my bread,
and the pictures on the mantel resembled the happiness
a man named Bill might think was his, was owed
or deserved, though I wanted to ask him, this man
I had become, whatever happened to all the people
I might have been, but he was busy and I am shy
when it comes to asking myself personal questions.


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