He was pulling the threads and cutting them at knife-edge
like hands outstretched, severed.
Point to another spot on the map and this absence
would fit to your finger, a familiar empty lot
on the walk home. No need to question
the essence of living on this street, with this door
opening you up this stairway and into this room.
Elsewhere they don't worry they'll disappear if they stop searching
for a name to label their moment in space and time.
But here, in this place with too many names
all mispronounced and fading from use,
each strand's breaking sound was small and hurt,
one by one at knife-edge, what had held
a patch of the American flag
to the warm, worn coat that sheltered him from winter.

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