In the checkout line at the supermarket
I spot a man I recognize from years ago
when I was in my twenties. Back then
he was the boyfriend of a girl I knew.
They used to skate together at the local mall,
she in one of those red velvet dresses
you’d see in the Ice Capades, her leggings
white and studded with sequins, a tiara
in her tied-back black hair. He wore
ordinary street clothes: bluejeans
and some unremarkable sweater,
which let her stand out even more,
as though she were a woman
a man like him could only
dream into being.

Today he’s stooped and gray.
His raincoat so large, it drapes
over his shoulders making him look
like an afterthought beneath it.
In his shopping cart only milk, eggs.
On the ice he was the one I’d watch,
so unlike other boys, other men.
How unobtrusively he’d glide,
maneuver his partner as though his job
was to appear to disappear beside her.
I wish I could remember his name.

About Andrea Hollander

Andrea Hollander is the author of five full-length poetry collections and three chapbooks. Her many honors include two Pushcart Prizes (poetry and literary nonfiction) and two poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Several years after her move in 2011 from the Arkansas Ozark Mountains to Portland, Oregon, she established The Ambassador Writing Seminars, which she conducts in her home and, since the pandemic, through Zoom. Her website is www.andreahollander.net.

Read more