Meeting by the River
by Alan Walowitz

Peekskill, New York

Perched on the always-on-edge,
I wondered, as usual, what I was doing,
and went through all the apt motions–
trimmed my nails, brushed my hair—
what little there is–
combed the lint from my beard,
so far, a normal day, despite the plan
to travel not far from here, but far
from my well-worn habits–
the local coffee dive, pounding on the keys,
stealing glances at the pretty girls
so young and out-of-reach.

I like the north well enough, the ruggedness of the terrain,
these rocks, this river, finally freezing where it’s free
from the chemicals we’ve brewed in it,
appeals to the manly in me, and self-righteous–
which I’m proud enough to own.
I’ve been this way plenty before
but why the foreignness to the feel of the so-familiar.
Here’s surely no déjà vu—
a trick of the brain, it was once explained:
the sensors, one eye, one ear, the lips
or the touch of a hand, picking up an image, a sound,
the touch, and delivering it in neuron-delay,
one a nano-second ahead of the other
and causing momentary disarray–and then
such sudden calm and amazement:
I blinked my eyes, looked again, and it was you.

Originally published in Live Encounters.

PAINTING: Hudson River by Leon Dabo (1918).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Meeting by the River” is a reminder to myself that it’s good to get out of well-worn habits, or one’s self even in—or especially in—winter.

Walowitz copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alan Walowitz, who lives in Great Neck, New York, is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry.  His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, comes from Osedax Press.  The full-length, The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems, is available from Truth Serum Press. Most recently, from Arroyo Seco Press, is the chapbook In the Muddle of the Night, written trans-continentally with poet Betsy Mars.