With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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I was wearing sandals the afternoon
we ran into your wife downtown.
No pantyhose because it was August and I was 22,
the weight of the world not yet upon me.
I remember how you dropped my hand in time,
suggested the cafeteria where the three of us ate lunch.
I do not remember how you introduced us,
only that she wore pumps, brown leather, stiff.
I had a chef salad that afternoon.
And when I saw the two of you step out of line
with the daily special on your trays,
meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, even in that heat,
I knew that I had been kidding myself.
You would never leave her.
I looked at your wife’s feet under the table.
What I saw was that one day I would be 35, too.
A woman who would wear shoes
that fit just fine in the store.
They wouldn’t bother her until she wore them a few times.
But by then, she really couldn’t bring them back.
It would be too late.