Conversation with Joe
I was walking along 17th Street with my bike just past the church at the corner of 17th and Sansom when I saw you. I pulled over, pulled in my bike, held it somewhat like a shield. I was thinking it had been a long time… You said: It’s been a long time since I’ve run into you. I said: Yes it has. You looked at my bike and said: Nice bike. I said: Nice hat. I looked at the large box you were carrying. What’s in the box, I said. You said: It’s the box for the hat; I just got the hat. I said: It must be a very fine hat to deserve such a box. You said: Oh, it’s like stamps; when you buy them now they’re wrapped in plastic with a cardboard backing. I said: Yes, excess packaging–the hallmark of our culture. You laughed and said: Do you still have your shop? I said: Yes. You said: It’s hard, keeping things going, you know, with things like rent. I said: Yes, expenses–the opposite of income, wondering if the spirit of Mamet were hovering nearby. You said: Well it’s been nice seeing you. I said: Yes it has. … a whole flowering of things I’d like to tell you dispersing in the air around us. And you walked on; and so did I, shaking my head, feeling sad that I knew so little about you now, where you’d been, where you were going. I just knew you had a new hat that came in a nice box and that I was walking on 17th Street with my bike. And I knew you were walking towards City Hall and I was walking the other way.
Ferral Willcox is a U.S. born poet currently living in Jokolo, Georgia. Her work has appeared in Nixes Mate, Per Contra, Rogue Agent, Peacock Journal, and elsewhere. She was regularly published and featured in the Plath Poetry Project.
Photo by Pascal Bernardon