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Various Scenarios

                                    Gianmarc Manzione


As if you never knew
this lamplight would fall just as softly

on you now that no one clicks it off
to pull you closer in the dark,

that what’s given must also be taken
in equal or greater measure.

Steward of a foolish suspicion
that your losses are different

from the struggles of others—
the fallen billionaire

who tucks a breakfast napkin under his chin
at the unattended table,

a man who shuffles chairs in the kitchen
to sustain a needed fidgeting

in an hour of unwelcome news.
Even crickets fiddling confessions at your window

tonight seem to register some costly longing,
a drone that’ll turn no stars to tin

but is delivered just as forcefully
until the silence it leaves behind

resembles the sleep you wait for—
the night a door slammed shut

behind you, your flown lover
cradled in another woman’s arms.

Only with the entirety of your aloneness
can you rehearse the various scenarios

of the heart, complications
from which you presumed yourself exempt,

young and unaccustomed to
the wounds you mean to master.


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