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Seth Landman

I might not meet you / until I've already known you for far too long.


I might not be able to be the way I am.
Even now, I feel my grip loosening.

Like arriving to the front of your face
in the middle of a meal

with all of your close friends around the table
and thinking why be more and more obscure.

I can't believe I'm here,
and these people are fucking fantastic,

and how can I tell them all about it.
How can I freeze like the ground did.

How can I thaw and sink into the steaming middle of whatever season it is.
I might not be any good at communication,

but what does that mean about what I manage to get across.
I might not be real or be able to stay very long. I feel obscure thinking

coming to get me, like my whole life
is a long arrival. I forgot something

at my apartment this morning and the day goes on stuttering.
I might be on the verge of choosing an explosion over

any semblance of rhythm,
and I'm sorry for all the words it takes

to arrive here at the good meat. I might not be
able to put it in front of your face, but somewhere

in there I think you remember talking
on the phone while the waves kept killing

the tiniest edge of your city. I might not meet you
until I've already known you for far too long.

How can I tell you I love you
if there's no starting over.

I did not love you, and now I do.
Even now, there's no explaining it.

In the beginning, I'll say hello,
this is a communication. I'll say dear,

and then I'll pause, and then
your name will come to me. Hey,

it's November, it's December, it's January.
This will all be over before you know it,

like arriving only to hear someone older explain
that the force with which you love

what you love over time might dissipate. They might say it
as fact, no getting around it. I don't care

what they say. I don't care what might be gleaned
from that experience. I might not be able to be

the way I am, but I know that much.
I know it's my life, and I feel like I'm living it

most of the time. I know I don't know what
I can manage, but that's something.

I know I had to look it up to know for sure what it was.
I knew when I didn't find it that I had something.

Seth Landman lives in Western Massachusetts. He is the author of Confidence (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2015) and Sign You Were Mistaken (Factory Hollow, 2013). He edits the poetry journal Divine Magnet, writes about the NBA on The Peach Basket, and collaborates with the poet Seth Parker on TYOYEU (@tyoyeu).