I wonder if one person out of the 8,000,000 is
thinking of me…
-Frank O’Hara, “Personal Poem”
I wake up in the airport hotel in Vienna
and brush my teeth and when I put my toothbrush
down the bristles skim the edge of the sink
and I think of Cici in Minnesota
and how she hates that. I press and zip my suitcase
shut and the socks Verona from Kosovo gave me catch
in the metal pull and I picture her smile
from when we went to the DC zoo
and she saw elephants for the first time.
I look to the TV and listen to the anchor talk
about Ukraine, the latest shelling, and I think of Alex
then, the man in Kyiv who painted me thirteen matryoshkas,
asked if I wanted each with brown or blond hair,
carrying pears or cherries or plums?
I stand and put my empty water bottle in my purse
to fill later, and I remember the janitor from London
who hours ago scolded me when I threw trash
into the wrong bin. He raised his hands and I raised
mine and said, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! And I was.
They’re talking about the football player now,
the one who collapsed on the field, and I again
imagine my ex up north—who never misses a game—
and the pain that must have spread across
his face. I hope his new wife or mom or our old dog
moved closer. I think of my own mother next,
but I am always thinking of my own mother.
I pull on the boots I got in Germany and remember
the saleswoman who held my heel in her hand
and said I had beautiful eyes. Schöne, schöne.
I gather my bags and slide a few euros on the desk
for the maid I’ll never meet—but might imagine me?
I step back and glance to the window.
How strange it is that every moment
is both present and a portal. How silly it is to say:
This world is so big! Our minds are so big.
The sun is only beginning to rise
above the planes outside.