IT WAS FALL AND IT WAS LONDON FOR JUST ONE NIGHT
We slept off the overnight flight across
the Atlantic in a closet-sized room buried
in the bowels of Heathrow. It was you and me, flush
against pink light. It was fall and it was London
for just one night. We each brought one bloated
fifty-liter backpack. We hopped a moon-tugged ferry
to the Netherlands, train to Rotterdam, and you spent
most of Amsterdam in our curtained off room
in the Airbnb, spine curled around a stomachache.
It was raining, but it was Amsterdam, so I spent five
euros on a shitty umbrella and walked Vondelpark
listening to Beirut and Heavens while you slept.
And we never drink beer, but when in Amsterdam,
we drank beer, and I crushed hard over a curly-haired,
chain-smoking local. I wanted to keep him forever, so you
took our picture and that’s how he and I became
two blurs in the night on Overtoom. Eindhoven
was our savior. It was vegan croquettes and black Skechers
to replace the motorcycle boots that gave me blisters.
Remember when we walked six kilometers to Nuenen
when we just could have cycled? And it was October
and my faux leather jacket was disposable-fashion
cheap and we were five minutes shy of missing the last
bus back to the city, but it was worth the stroll through
Vincent’s stars. And if we’d rented bikes, we might have overshot
the cyclist and his russet pony slowing to wish us a starry
night. And it was kismet, and it was cathedral, and all the dead
leaves I brought home from Dommelplantsoen are crumbled
in a Phoenix landfill, but the uncracked chestnut still knocks
against the walls of my chest drawers. I still live in the too-thin,
overpriced sweatshirt I made us squeeze through every tourist-trap
nook of Picadilly Circus to buy our only twelve hours in London.