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This week, a poem by Eric Joonho.
Today I met someone for brunch
My first date since November:
He was late and his hair was red
Ludicrously dyed, fiery
And my shirt was blue as usual
And my hair was black, and I drank
Black coffee four more cups after parting
With this nice boy, an actor.
The coffee burned my throat as it slid
Down, not from heat, but from spice
As if there were cayenne in there
As if a demon had slipped me a red pill.
I sat for hours and read my Steinbeck novel
You know, the big one
About the dispossessed family that loses everything
To a bank.
I dated a banker once
Cool and green, he loved me for a while
He said so, he said that.
When I finished my coffee, I got on the train
And it was especially bad this time
Because I think I saw the other man
My banker’s new man:
Perfect hair, cleft chin, tall.
What cruel little finger designed it this way
To happen on my successor in the flesh
To wish it were someone much worse filling
My big blue shoes.
Still, it was good to know my banker traded up
Good to know he was so cold to me
Good to know he was so good to me to leave me.
Born and raised in Georgia, ERIC JOONHO is a doctoral candidate in English at Columbia University.