On the Copydesk. Errors of Margin

I was someone else then, rarely able
to breathe out and disappear. A day
was a job one got up to do. Arranging
tools. Counting picas, and my insane game
of bigger letters meaning fewer words.

Did the pencil wear down first, or the knuckle’s skin?

L’s are for shit, I told the intern. Get us
more W’s or we’ll be here all day.

The decade took forever to pass—
and me as the drag in its drape.

Cutlines. Five lines, then four
under the crash photo
since that’s all
anyone’ll read

Nearing midnight, I’d been known to drift
among old men fishing the Seine.
Sipping coffee at George Sand’s, hearing notes
bursting right then into existence.

Water clicking against a dock. And the light
taking an eternity to cross the road
to the newsstand. Night’s
shift. In France, I’d died believing in the smallest moments
of perfection…as I was dying here again
in the same damn way
in this other day.