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gabriel kahane – villanelles lyrics

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i carried you up second avenue
looking at couples and sidewalk cafes
and lonely men wandering home in the haze
i carried you up the way

i pictured you sitting on your stoop
spilling your coffee on villanelles
and cursing yourself you began to yell
how clumsy the things that i do

you said
i miss your dumb warm body
i don’t know what that means
but i think that it’s lovely

we bought each other hardback books
inscribed them with ice cream that dripped
while we ate but petrified by your writerly looks
i simply wrote

you said
i miss your dumb warm body
i don’t know what that means
but i think that it’s lovely

that night you drew me oh so close
and gave me some grade school innocence
kisses on the kneecap and nose and shoulder
you whispered in my ear no words
traced them instead upon my back
i have to go away for a while
a trip to that side of the track

and so i’ll miss your dumb warm body
i carried you up second avenue