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Pantoum for Our Imagined Breakup

ISSUE:  Spring 2004

I can’t imagine breaking up with you.
Instead, I think about the neighbors’ problems:
His anguished look seems punishment for truth;
his “other half” is thin and Puerto Rican.

I think I know about the neighbors’ problems.
They argue over nothing: TV sitcoms,
half-and-half or skim, trips to Puerto Rico.
I try to picture them undressing, fucking.

We argue over some new TV sitcom;
it’s nothing, but I’m crying afterwards.
Later, you undress me; then you fuck me
rather than apologize. “I love you”—hard,

you say it like it’s nothing. Cries, hard words
that drift across our shared side yard, they fight.
So I apologize, say, “I love you, George.”
I don’t know why it has to be this way.

Leaves drift across our shared side yard; cats fight,
their anguish somehow punishing and true,
I don’t know why. It has to be this way,
I can’t imagine breaking up with you.


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