don’t know where he hung his hat
but am sure it was well placed—as we hung
on his every word, gracefully placed,
as he graced you, which was needed by me, and us
for a reading that otherwise would be lonely
as he explained at the bookstore, telling me he loved me,
although he actually said you and probably meant “you.”
also don’t know what or where “time’s cellar” was,
but felt sure I wanted to be a buyer
of this, or that, in fact, of whatever he was selling.
Nor do I know what woman loved him, but
I think it was the one he asked
whether to read to us this poem, or that.
grace he spoke to us, me and you, of what is needed
to get on his bus, which drove like a three/one count with men on base
through poignant moments, on occasion beautiful --
on demand sublime -- and you sensed some poems
he may have written while imagining himself
a young boy in Ithaca, New York, in an orange cap and green shorts
cutting out from a writers’ workshop—cutting away
from the sawdust of lathes cutting out adverbs and
stones polished over rocks he could make chuckle,
eating ripe apples and not wiping his chin when he snuck outside
as the sun crept
just far enough
across the lawn.
evening Mr. Lehman was loved by you, a woman, and us,
but I don’t know where he hung his hat.
-- Robert B. Miller
Editor's note: Denise Duhamel, undoubtedly one "you" in this poem, introduced David Lehman at a poetry reading in the bookstore of Florida International University in October. In response to the reading, Robert B. Miller wrote this poem, which makes allusions to many of the poems Lehman read that evening -- including "Why I Love 'You'," "When a Woman Loves a Man," "Anywhere I Hang My Hat," "Story of My Life," "The Count," and "On the Beautiful and Sublime."