Richard Cole: “A City Is the People You Know There”


After too many years, I knock
and a stranger appears at the front door
of the creaky white Victorian. No, she doesn’t live here
anymore and who are you?

All my friends have moved away
like me, taking their history with them,
but you and I could never change
what happened between us,
and then we do. Looking for a pleasant wound,
I go back to my private shelf and find
an empty space where my youth should be, with a note
in that still captivating hand of yours—dear,
thought you wouldn’t mind.

Richard Cole is the author of two books of poetry: The Glass Children (The University of Georgia Press) and Success Stories (Limestone Books). He is also the author of a memoir, Catholic by Choice (Loyola Press). His poems and essays have been published in New Yorker, Poetry, Rattle, Hudson Review, Sun Magazine, Barrow Street, Diode, The American Journal of Poetry, Ruminate, Dappled Things, Image Journal, and various anthologies. Honors include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Bush Foundation grant. Cole works as a painter and business writer in Austin, Texas.

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