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Callaloo 25.2 (2002) 401
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Is it a coincidence that in the last two movies I've seen
I thought my ex-boyfriend was an extra, both movies
starring the same dark-haired actor? Though I remember
his key clicking finally in the latch of our 13th Street
apartment & the curved brim of his Brooklyn baseball cap
turned away from me, I do not regret our decisions.
I channel instead the scent of his black soap &
musty sweaters crumpled near his Clarks by the bed.
Because he cannot smell, my husband has never known
the propitious scent of rain clinging to the sidewalks,
how it forecasts solitude expanding in the season. Why
do I remember my newlywed high school chemistry teacher,
running late for classes? What do I owe her for that moment
she became briefly more than a body behind a desk,
giver of homework and detentions?
There are times when I ask if I am in the right place.
Where else could I be but here?
I don't have a story to offer,
only sulfur burning in a clear dish, the fragrance
of Japanese eggs stirred in a pale blue porcelain bowl,
my husband sensing that their odor somehow displeased him.
Sometimes after an especially good movie, the audience
rises quickly, never questioning our common spaces. They grab
their jackets by the collars, afraid to speak
too loudly their opinions of the unexpected ending.
Sometimes I want them to sit silently with me, the bright,
white credits scrolling the blacks of our eyes.
Yona Harvey is a graduate of Howard University and The Ohio State University, where she received the MFA degree. She lives in Pittsburgh.