It was accepted for publication at the first place I sent it, and almost in the same form it in which it was originally written.
I had just attended a Saturday workshop given by Ilya Kaminsky in Pittsburgh, at Gist Street. I was surprised by how handsome he was, on top of how talented and articulate. I wrote this a few days later. He really did miss a belt loop on the morning of the workshop.
He missed a belt loop
that morning, drank instant coffee
in a Pittsburgh hotel,
hurried to dress.
His shirt untucked,
underneath a pilled crewneck sweater,
Shetland wool. Finger in ear,
he adjusted his own volume. I wondered,
Why would he own a wool sweater
if he lives in Northern California?
or, maybe that was why it was pilled,
pulled from the back of a closet
part of his East Coast equipment
with suitcase, garment bag, umbrella.
He could be the poet who ended my marriage;
hair hung in his Eastern block face.
Younger than me, more famous
with one slim book
than I could be with four.
I could be his American scandal.
His glasses fogged as I stepped out
of the shower, wet handprints
on tattersall stomach, pressed
a warm imprint on his back,
his rumpled khakis softened, steamed.
He read me a poem he wanted
to teach later that morning,
his voice a Transylvanian whisper.
I smelled powdered milk
on his close mouth,
my humid neck.