Forget it, I say to my ex-
lover when he says thank you
for returning his shampoo,
the pair of sunglasses I didn’t break,
and I shrug, that tiny tug
upward of shoulders, just
a twitch of resistance in order
to get it started — then the shoulders
drop, the box of his stuff drops

into his open arms, and
when I am walking later,
as I slow to place my foot over
a blackened leaf hardened
with early frost and listen to the slight,
newly knitted ice threads break
under the weight of my boot, I
look up for no reason

and see a hanging signboard
that reads, “International Forgiveness
Institute,” in carved black letters.
It shudders slightly as cars go by,
and it’s easy to miss —
I have missed it before,
on this clotted city block in Minneapolis —
the International Forgiveness Institute
trying to loosen some distraught knot
far off in France, Japan, South
Africa. Just some people

on telephones, I’m thinking, in a small
dusty office with little rays of sun
widening, then dwindling in the room each day,
and they’re there calling and calling
to see if there’s anything
they can do.