Old Jackets

Tracing a path along remembered tram lines,
Prague feels like a lost jacket, pulled years later
from a dusty closet, the fabric
still fits along the irregular frame of my chest.
The restaurants shout their entrées like
cuff stains, the waitresses plod along the
back of my eyelids, like so many familiar
wrinkles in the leather.

Memory multiplies with repetition,
water pours into the pot, while the flame
struggles to evaporate it all away.
Though like a siren speeding down
the tourist clogged Wenceslas Square
I struggle to know whether I can still
hear the squalling, or the memory of
the sound. Memories always succumb
to the Doppler effect.

How hard I try to turn words into pictures,
and make memories into life again.
I try to stretch metaphors along the circumference
of my brain until they become emotion
until I am still scared

of the Czech cowboy police,
until the sweat
of my masturbation is her sweat,
until the heat
of this New York shower,
is her heat, tangled into my nostrils,
with her perfume,
lingering in the folds of my coat.

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