Two people sit at a table inside and become four. They become four because two people they know walk in and join them at this table. They have not seen one another in days or years. They become four now but also became four before. They were themselves and also many former selves except they were somewhere and went somewhere else and became less or more. They have sat at many tables. But they talk about sitting exactly here years ago at this exact place almost. Did we come with bad timing they say knowing change cannot be unchanged. They talk of what they do every day with their time and how they speak says so much about how they view themselves. They add words to each other's sentences and laugh at what they make. They want to know how much is too little. They talk of a lack of water or experience. They give each other advice and say thank you for teaching me about what not to do. Thank you for the surprise of who you are now. Are you hungry they ask are you sure. How incredible is it that they have wandered into the same moment. There are many places to be and they have chosen this one. They feel this wonder and repeat it even though repeating it does not bring them any more sense. Why not they say. Why not sit together in this night despite everything that has happened. Ex- women and ex-men. They pay for one another and say please don't please let's split the burden of what this has cost us. It is not guilt exactly but more tribal. There is wine and food and the light. They ask about getting home. They ask about what will happen after. Where are you going. It will take more days or years for them to meet this way with cause. The same people. Or the same. They go away but differently. They were here and sometimes it's like they were here.
*originally published in the November 2017 issue of The Brooklyn Rail
For Misha (While You're in Portugal)
I don't think this is truly
That I have given you with my chambers
Everything else and not hardly
Gutless for you or
We will run away and live forever
Nothing can make up the weather's mind
Sometimes I wish I were a lake
Where there is a chance
Vanessa Jimenez Gabb is the author of Images for Radical Politics, which was the Editor's Choice in the 2015 Rescue Press Black Box Poetry, and the chapbooks midnight blue (Porkbelly Press, 2015) and Weekend Poems (dancing girl press, 2014). She teaches English and Creative Writing at Newark Academy and is the co-founder of Five Quarterly. She is from and lives in Brooklyn, NY.