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Some guy, bleeding, just beaten
by hooded strangers on the late train,

asks some girl, Miss S, a witness, the same
question that lovers ask each other

turning from mirrors, away,
“How do I look?” & she, bystanding, replies

“Frankly, you’re in a bad way.”
She’d been thinking of the one,

long gone, who got away, the one
who’d taken himself from her

& those days when she’d turn,
adoring, to him. Amazing.

(That’s what he used to say.)
Thus S, on loss, ruminates.

You can see what she’s getting at,
can see where she’s heading.

Your eyes have got that same telling
ache & sanguine reverie. You too

have once walked in twos, linked
to another in the light rain….

But we all, now & then, walk alone,
especially in the city of men,

where most you meet are bled dry
& broken, or have cashed in

care for possession, where
the injured offer you their arms

so that you might help them better,
like failures, like lovers, where the aimless

fling curses like boomerangs through the air….


Sarah V. Schweig‘s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in BOMB Magazine, Boston Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Western Humanities Review, and Verse Daily. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Columbia University, where her manuscript was recipient of the David Craig Austin Memorial Award. Her chapbook, S, is forthcoming through Dancing Girl Press. She grew up in Virginia and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Genevieve Burger-Weiser’s poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Boston Review, Western Humanities Review, Washington Square Review, and Juked Magazine. She was a finalist for the Poetry Foundation’s 2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship and shortlisted for the 2009 Times Literary Supplement poetry prize. She received her MFA in Writing from Columbia University’s School of the Arts and she currently teaches expository writing at Manhattanville College.

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  • Devon April 28, 2011, 9:51 pm

    Love how this relates the “How do I look?” question with that a lover. Great contrast that shows a sameness. Very human.

  • Christina M. Grey August 22, 2011, 6:20 pm

    I agree with Devon about “How do I look?” and I also love “curses like boomerangs” – Powerful final line.

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