The man who lives in my apartment
looks like an oversize five year old
with sturdy legs and a crest of hair standing up on top
of his head when he wakes
in the morning and kisses me still half-asleep.
Up close, you notice—
hair, half gray and beard almost white.
I lived with another man years ago,
he used to listen to jazz naked.
He had the long muscles of a soccer player,
loved philosophy, old books,
and possessed a bad temper.
He also loved our cat, I recall.
We had a red kettle nicknamed Pink Floyd for its
long whistle and an ashtray bound in red leather,
that I had given him on his birthday.
Our son admitted to me ten years later
that he threw it out the window
after breaking off a piece of glass
so that father would not yell.
He told me he could still felt guilty
thinking of the red ashtray
on the white Moscow snow.
My father wanted me to marry a man with two interests
philosophy and chess.
My husband had both, but the marriage was a disaster.
When my father stopped talking him,
they continued playing chess in silence.
Now I live with a man who is not unlike my father—
who asks me the same question
five times a day.
My father, a biology professor, knew eight languages
but did not remember if he had dinner
an hour ago.
One day he went to a lecture with two ties on.
My husband can give a brilliant lecture
on art history as we are walking by an old building
or stopping in a gallery
but he loses his glasses at least once a day.
We are going to Moscow, and I am going through old papers.
I no longer look like the person on my green card application
that I filled out almost thirty years ago
the young woman who was thin and had long hair.
The look in her eyes was that of a new immigrant—
forlorn, but also hopeful.
Whatever happened to her?
photo: Elvert Barnes / flickr