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I had to see La Bohème again just to

make sure for there was a little part of

me that kept the regret though when I tried

the argument again I used both hands

in order to explain and I was especially

sensitive to the landlord for I lived

both inside and outside even when I was angry

I paid my debts for I have listened to

and lived with grasshoppers and they bore me, but

Mimi, Mimi, when your hand dropped every

woman in my row was weeping and I

gave in too instead of gripping the armrest

or rubbing the back of my head; I loved it the most that

you lived inside and outside too, the snowdrop

was what you thought of, wasn't it? You were

the one who came back, three times, it was your stubbornness,

your loyalty. One time I stood in the street

and watched a moon so thin the clouds went through it

as if there were no body, as if the cold

was so relentless nothing could live there, you with

the blackened cancle, you who stitched the lily.


Gerald Stern

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