tagNon-Erotic PoetryDead Man's Underpants

Dead Man's Underpants


(for Angeline & Wicked Eve)

when somebody leaves my life,
I always hope they take themselves
with them, because I do not
want the linger of regrets
that comes with having them still
but not having them at all.
of course, this would mean,
typically, that I do not want them
gone, but not all love sings
along to the typical song.
instead of longing,
or difficult, defensive friendship,
sometimes what lingering lovers
leave behind can be unpaid
tax bills, or love notes
from those they cheated (on
the taxes and on you) with, or
an amoxicillin bottle from that
case of the clap he forgot to mention
but managed to pass along.
archaeology of the apartment almost
always reveals traces of lives we've
already forgotten we lived: term papers,
swimming trophies, a first communion
bible from a pious second cousin.
when I heard he died, that long
ago and far away love of another
mine, I realized that I had never
really erased him, though there
would now, of course, be no raising
him. I want this to be easy,
but that's too straightforward
sometimes. instead of resentments and
unfinished business, what gets
left behind is sometimes something
simple: a pair of glasses, those paisley
boxers you never really liked,
that tattered copy of some silly
science fiction novel. still, I
find, it lingers.

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