Thinking About Someone I Used to Love

It makes me sad because I've never seen such--such beautiful shirts before.
--Daisy Buchanan, from Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

Is it overly romantic
to want to see
through spectacles, not glasses,
to wish the sign
on the door read
oculist instead of
to desire a man
who owns a stack
of long-sleeved dress shirts,
to cradle those linens and silks,
to brush their luxury,
their meticulous weaves
across your lips,
to feel pleasure as you
watch him hold
your favorite--periwinkle
--the one with nearly invisible
pink flecks, imagine
what he's thinking as he slides
each arm into its sleeve,
pops each button
into place, pats down his front
and tucks the hem into pleated
unbelted trousers?
You wonder if he wonders
about words, how they can change
everything, East Egg
to West Egg and back again,
the distance, far and not far,
between the valley of ashes
and this place, where at dusk
the gulls call madly
as the city lights up the sound.
Is it foolish to mourn
the eras of elegance
and danger that have passed
you by and will you
take this chance
at love, a gangster
with a wardrobe full of shirts,
because aren't all men invented,
riffraff still clinging to the bottom
of their shoes, and isn't he a man
who promises, promises, and
won't you choose
to believe him?

“Thinking About Someone I Used to Love” was originally published in Fire on Her Tongue: An eBook Anthology of Contemporary Women's Poetry.

next poem >