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(like the sting on my fingertips after practicing guitar)
The Distant Future

the woman on the online video has short hair and a tattoo sleeve and she
giggles when she stumbles over her words trying explain which fingers go on which string on which fret
to make A major

and I'd like to imagine that this woman and I know each other that she not only teaches me
how to play guitar but that she comes to visit, declines hot tea but accepts an ice water,
calls me "pal" and fistbumps me and tells me of her last heartbreak
and listens when I tell her about how

when someone at a party mentions VHS cassettes from our collective childhood
what i think of is you and me and and the kids and
the TV with the in-built video player that you bought at a thrift store or garage sale
that you couldn't get to work for the longest time because you didn't have the right power chord
that i remember helping you fix
and then in the kids' room all of us piled up on a blue Buzz Lightyear blanket
watching rugrats

and how someone else is in that room now

and i would tell her about how
someone orders a Long Island Iced Tea and what i think of

is lying with you on the purple couch of the living room and
you told me how you wanted to return
to Long Island
where your family was, where your friends were,
that there was nothing here for you
except that you were bound here to your ex-husband
by the children sleeping in the next room
and how the word "nothing" rang out to me and i carried it around
and carry it around still
and how bad i wanted to say that i may not be much, but hey, here i am

and how someone else is there now

and this woman, this imaginary guitar instructor friend, she
would put her hand on my shoulder and ask how many times do i think of you
and i would remember when i was running and i realized that
the entire world had turned into tiny barbs
and that healing is a process of stinging over and over again
stinging like the way that my fingertips do
when I arpeggiate each note in A Major
and they finally ring out clear


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