Proximity

We caught a Helen Frankenthaler show

and ate pistachio ice cream at Sant Ambroeus.

On the train he held me close, reciting

Keats in my ear. From the cab at night,

the city was lengthy and spilling. Lights

from the rooftop. Blood on the bathmat.

This was years ago now. He still holds me

like that on the L so he doesn’t have to touch

the railing. On my walk home the trash bags

that line my block jerk and rustle. One thing

still moves another. I am split open anymore.

I like the track at McCarren in the morning

when it’s raining and the park is a cold fish gutted

of its runners and walkers, with just a huddle of men

in yellow vests and raincoats collecting litter

near the garbage cans. I like to be alone and moving,

however strained or lopsided, and I like him

to pull my wet face into his chest till I can feel

his breath on my neck, hot and unfresh,

like the gust of air before an oncoming train.


Alexandria Hall is a poet and musician from Vermont. Her debut collection of poems, Field Music (Ecco, 2020), was selected by Rosanna Warren as a winner of the National Poetry Series. She holds an MFA from New York University and is now a PhD student in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. She is founder and editor-in-chief of Tele- Magazine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Narrative, BOAAT, The Bennington Review, Foundry, Prelude, and Hobart, among others.