I am back where I started. You are walking
toward me with a glass of vodka in your hand.
I look downward at your bare feet in the grass.
I understand that there are shoes you have never worn.
I know that everything might have been different.
I might not have crossed the street. You might have told me
to go away. There might be two moons in the sky
or a purple sun. Nod your head if you agree.
New Years Eve on the Q
Gregor decided he would ring in the New Year on the Q Train. It made sense, considering how much of his recent life was tied to that line. Years ago, right after he met Bethany, it was the 2 that linked their lives. He’d hop on at Atlantic and ride all the way to Wakefield, last stop in the Bronx. Sure, he still rode up there sometimes out of nostalgia, or masochism, whatever you want to call it. What was the best night of your life, he would ask her, and she’d always say that time we took the D to Coney Island and jumped in the ocean in the middle of the night. We were crazy, right? Crazy, she’d answer, crazy for walking around until dawn in wet jeans. Why’d we leave our clothes on, anyway? Hey, we didn’t know each other that well! Yes, he could still take the D to Coney Island but the Q was where they lived their lives toward the end, from Newkirk Plaza to 63rd Street over and over, he couldn’t even count how many times. Coming home after the infusions, they’d take the R to 8th Street and spend what was left of the day in Washington Square, looking for people they used to know.
Michael Cooney has published poetry in Badlands, Second Chance Lit, Bitter Oleander, Big Picture Review and other journals. His short stories have appeared recently in Sundial Magazine, Bandit Fiction, and Cerasus. He has taught in NYC high schools and community colleges and currently facilitates a writing workshop on Zoom.