the grand inquisitor
likes to ask a lot of questions
she soaking the essence out of me
on our first date
but maybe i don’t mind
since it’s taken us two months to get here
do you like michael chabon? she asks
what about matthew sweet?
what’s it like to be done with college?
she walks me around oakland and schenley park
weaving the streets
then all of these wooded paths
twenty-two years in this city
and i don’t even know where in the hell we are
do you like living here?
what’s it like working in a library?
so is it poetry or fiction that you write?
hell, i don’t know, marilyn
we finally sit down on flagstaff hill
pitt campus pittsburgh oakland
limestone and neon meshing in the night
marilyn is quiet
we’ve run out of things to say already
i haven’t asked her anything
i mean where to start?
i think this was all exciting back in april
but here in june i wonder what i was waiting for
let’s just sit here for a while, she says
soon the homeless take over the hill
you can hear them grunting in restless sleep
marilyn sits there like we’re having a little picnic
not smack dab in the middle of some hooverville
she’s showing her small town
i bet she’d meander through iraq
as the sun sets and shadows in the distance fade to black
she asks me what i think about tonight’ moon
anticlimactic, i say
to the turn of bottles burps
and vagrant farts in the humid night
anticlimactic? she says sharply
and though i can’t i can still see the look on her face
yes yes, i say
because i can’t find the secret romance in any of this.