(Ed note: Laurence Goldstein's posts this week about encounter poems reminded me of this poem by one of my favorite poets. What do you think? Do you have a favorite "encounter" poem? -- sdh)
I’m in a coffee shop, remembering a woman I knew
years ago who had drowned eight kittens in a sack.
I listened to her tell the whole story many times, even
begged her to repeat it when we were wasted, and laughed
at the part where the flung sack hit the concrete instead
of the water. I’m thinking how different things are now,
especially me, how my heart can barely stomach the story,
which means I’ve become a better person, certainly better
than the woman I knew, who I would never be friends with
again—she probably hadn’t changed at all. Now that I’m
a better person, I probably shouldn’t forgive her, or
should I? I wonder, and as I’m wondering this, the bodies
of all the people I’d drowned in sacks years ago begin
falling from the sky, heavy like wet sandbags from a crane.
I go out to watch them. God, lots of them. To each, I
wave as it flies past, mouth “I miss you,” wait for “Me
too!” from the back of its smooshed, hairless head.
-- by Jennifer L. Knox
from The Mystery of the Hidden Driveway (Bloof, 2010)