Who the Letters Were From

This guy I used to know—a friend of mine-my
ex-husband I met at nineteen on a blind

date though I could see by the time
our fried clams had arrived it wasn’t meant

to be—he said time would only
tell—I said meantime I’ll only be

wishing you well but when
the check came he was a different

man—I mean he was my student—or I
his and he was obviously an expert in early

sixth-century anonymous Gaelic poetry
that revolves around a rhyme scheme—

as he explained over the beer we shared illegally
after class—in which changing the placement

of any one word means reducing
the poem to nonsense. He was good

with his head—or hands—or at nothing
but baking bread although when all was said

and done he remained a rabid Catholic
who wanted to ban the word embryo

or he was having an emotional affair
with a pregnant woman and loved jawbreakers

and whether I ran into him at Walmart
or we went intentionally to the river is beside

the point because he was a black hole
which meant not actually on earth and therefore

could only be known as the Dark Lord (his name
was Josh) or the World’s Most Apologetic Liar

or the illustrious co-author of How to Surmise
Then Hypnotize Your Real Mr. Right
and we spent

a single night together without technically
inhaling but the divorce still proved undoing

for the children. He was the father
of my dictionary. He was an irreplaceable

rhyme for baby. He was my third
love, my second chance, a trampoline’s notion

of romance. Maybe now, maybe then,
maybe if, or so the end refrains. He was one

of a number of mistakes I made
for which I don’t take blame.

Taije Silverman