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American Life in Poetry

I don’t remember ever having a blind date, but if I had, I suspect it would have gone just as the one goes in this poem by Jay Leeming, who lives in New York state.

Blind Date

Our loneliness sits with us at dinner, an unwanted guest

who never says anything. It’s uncomfortable. Still

we get to know each other, like students allowed

to use a private research library for only one night.

I go through her file of friends, cities and jobs.

“What was that like?” I ask. “What did you do then?”

We are each doctors who have only ourselves

for medicine, and long to prescribe it for what ails

the other. She has a nice smile. Maybe, maybe …

I tell myself. But my heart is a cynical hermit

who frowns once, then shuts the door of his room

and starts reading a book. All I can do now is want

to want her. Our polite conversation coasts

like a car running on fumes, and then rolls to a stop;

we split the bill, and that third guest at the table

goes home with each of us, to talk and talk.

Poem copyright 2011 by Jay Leeming from ”Miracle Atlas” (Big Pencil Press, 2013), and reprinted by permission of the author and publisher. American Life in Poetry is supported by The Poetry Foundation and the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


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