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Numbers

by Richard Vince

My memory for numbers can be
Too good, it seems: I can store
Numbers in my brain that are
Long deleted from my phone;
From my life.

It is like being surrounded
By a line I know I could cross;
Invisible, but just as clear
As the line she drew under
All that had gone before.

Some days I stray too close;
A face at her window,
Hiding in plain sight with only
Her averted gaze to shield me.

My feet stay on the right side:
Sometimes I almost convince myself
That that is enough, that
My obligations are legal rather than
Moral, that I can look all I want
As long as I don’t touch.

It is the desire for invisible hands
That is hardest to fight; the idea
That somehow, through other people,
Other names, I could touch her life
And not be seen.

Thankfully, I have outgrown
My old skill of hiding my heart
From myself, so I remain at this
Uncomfortable comfortable distance.

Sometimes, though, those ten
Treacherous digits close suddenly
Around my neck, and I choke
On all those memories that
I wish I could forget.

11/15/2017

Posted on 11/28/2017
Copyright © 2017 Richard Vince

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by George Hoerner on 11/29/17 at 03:10 AM

I've carried a woman in my mind since I was 18/19 and it still comes to the fore. I no longer try to hide it. And we have gone for years with no contact. But at the occasional time, as recently as the past couple weeks, some how an email will come from one or the other of us. We live 3000 miles apart so we won't run into each other. So this poem wakes me up. Thanks and nice write!

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