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L’espirit de l’escalier


I don’t want to eat,
I want to sit around being fragile
And subsist on sparkling water
I want there to be something left in my day
That glitters.

I want to turn the internet off, open the windows,
And listen to yesterday’s thunderstorm.
I want the rain to wash the sidewalks away with the hours,
To return me to the twilight of yesterday, before we…

I want to do yesterday over again:
To do nothing. To do more, to do less,
To speak up when I was hurting.
When you were hurting me.

I want to have never started, or to have lingered
In the moment, after the first time I asked you to stop
Before I said “Where is the dominant guy who threw me over the desk?”
I want to have stayed there- in your surprisingly gentle arms,
To have fallen asleep.

I want to be the worst kind of hypocrite, I want a cigarette.
After your tobacco breath and all my complaints-
I want to hang my head out the window and blow the smoke into the January air,
Watch it curl toward the cobblestones on the courtyard
Like a woman descending spiral stairs.

The French have a word for this. Usually, it’s the Germans,
Coming in with vocabulary lacking in English.
But today it’s the French:
L’espirit de l’escalier
The ghost of the things we should have said.

I have so much left to say to you.
I want our story to keep going, too.

An addition to the poem:

I remembered tonight that my ultimate dream vacation
A trip aboard the Orient Express,
Runs from Istanbul
to Paris.

Maybe one day we will go.

Maybe one day I will look back and realize I was always heading toward you.

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