La Slowteria

    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
A staircase
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.