Ode to a Forgotten Conversation

Alison Prine Click to

PrineAlison Prine's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review and Greensboro Review.  She lives in Burlington, Vermont where she works as a psychotherapist in private practice.

I sat at a diner years ago
between a man I pretended to love
and a woman I pretended not to.
I reached across to punch the buttons
on the jukebox, and poured more cream into my cup.

Music held the honesty that none of us
had yet grown into. I leaned against the strain.
We were old enough by then
to argue about the country.
Though I can’t retrieve the disagreements,
I cherish all the words.

I never asked them if they felt
what I felt when I saw a gash
in a chain link fence. Or when
the tendrils of ivy grew toward each other
across the painted brick.

I wanted to stand with others
at the bus stop just to feel their kinship.
But the bus came and I didn’t get on.
When the day was over
my roommate sang a cappella in the darkness;
it was the closest thing I had
to knowing someone.



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