Hooked

By David Yezzi

Featured Image: The Battle of Love by Paul Cézanne, 1880
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

She’s a friend I take some nights for pain.
Dosage is an issue. We maintain

an equilibrium, but it is hard:
the IV drip of texts, the memory card

of photos we filled one fall by the sea.
What’s good for her is mostly good for me,

but pressure-points that ease her nerves today
may frazzle them tomorrow. Tough to say;

tough, too, to get just right, or right at all.
Every step’s the first part of a fall.

What is this bloodless tie sustaining us,
thumb-pal, app-gal, cyber-glamorous,

cobble of connections wormed through space,
which might dissolve if we came face to face,

in the flesh, as they say. Now more than ever
this boudoir of electrons echoes: never.

Should I take thought and lap my gruel of chat?
Or find another drug, if it comes to that?

The Central Casting of the pharmacy
is full of characters who’ll happily

help to wipe the vestiges of her.
Missing her is strictly de rigueur,

a touchless ache while it still keeps its feel
that might have ended worse had it been real.


David Yezzi’s latest books of poetry are Birds of the Air and Black Sea (both in the Carnegie Mellon Poets Series). He teaches in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins and edits The Hopkins Review.

Originally appeared in NOR 17

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