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Men Swear

I misread on the UP escalator
at Macy's and things go downhill
from there. Now starchy
as a white shirt, now neat as a pleat
in my new blue suit, I slip like
a stitch through Grand
Central and up Park Avenue.
Oh, to be crisply cuffed,
something in fall flannel to flatter
this flâneur. Hello, you old so-and-so,
I tip my cap to you. But no—
misplaced cufflinks, my cuffs
all aflutter, and so
difficult to think at the end
of the day, to grow
thoughtful and pause—reflecting
as I'm reflected, freeze-framed
in this window, hand in
pocket, my yellow pocket
square, elbowed in
amongst the many mannequins.
Passersby dawdle by
in slo-mo. Across the avenue
the Pizza King's got a line out
the door. Let the young
ladies dress me and address me
as they will. Dear Alexandra,
dear Epiphany—upwardly
mobile with your tiny
mobile phones. We're window
dressing, sure, but what
windows. Only the ATM gives us
exactly what we want.

Matthew Thorburn

Every Possible Blue
CW Books

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