To Robert Hayden's image
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Less lonely, less . . .

I gave you

a tiny box.

You lifted the lid,


the usefulness

of my gift:

a silver pin shaped

like an amper-

sand. As you fastened it

to your lapel,

I thought again of

that motel

outside of Chicago.

¿Te acuerdas?

I sat on the edge

of a bench,

untied my shoes.

Face down, eyes shut,

you breathed in

the aroma

of sweat & allspice

coming off

the sheets. I tossed

my ring—gold,

inscribed—toward a pile

of clothes.

But the ring

dropped in the small

of your back

where it rattled

& rattled like a coin

in a beggar’s


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