Hearing Nina Simone


Andrew McCarron

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 119 in August, 2009.

Lost from day to day,
So I turn another way-
With a laugh, a kind hello-
Some small talk, with the few friends that I know.
--- Nina Simone

It was morning in late November and you walked to
Two Boots on A and rented Nina Simone Live in London
Brought it back to your apartment on Fourth Street
And listened to “I Forget I’m Not Over You for a While.”
And tea water boiled on the green gas stove.
And sun blanched the brick of the Earth School across the street.
And you gazed through your Punjabi curtains, the ones
You hoped would soften the atmospheric browns and grays
Of your bachelor cave, which you tried to change
Arranging a Key Food cheese platter for the occasion, though
The apple wedges browned a bit on the board. There
Was someone with you that day, the Saturday before
Thanksgiving, to whom you wrote thanks for dancing
And who wrote back thanks for asking and a lovely day
Even going to see Kinsey and not saying much after.

After. You missed someone else painfully & from the depths
Though the talking and touching were enough
To fill you with enough warmth to keep from freezing.
Dancing, you two-stepped away from desire
Grown inward like a toenail, a half-panicked life
In Mantown.