“Dear Friend: I have nearly died three times since morning”

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Feb. 21 2012 6:33 AM

“Dear Friend: I have nearly died three times since morning”

  

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Alex Dimitrov read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.

For a long time I would not go to bed.

You’ll remember those months and the sky
like the tip of a finger dipped in wax.

Every time I felt pleasure I held my breath—

why did you write over that line in your letter?
The snow made me forget how hot the blood is.

How another person can step into a room,
as if out of a painting,

and offer me a life.

Can you feel which part of your body this poem goes to?
Your fingers or teeth,

the top of your chest—
does it touch your face?

I was thinking we could see each other again.

At night, with our masks on,
so we know exactly who to look for.

I’ll read you this fragment of Proust

before the next snowfall, so neither us of will forget …
the better part of our memory exists outside us,

in a blatter of rain, in the smell of an unaired room ...

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Alex Dimitrov's first book of poems, Begging for It, will be out next year. He is the recipient of the Stanley Kunitz Prize for younger poets from The American Poetry Review and the founder of Wilde Boys, a queer poetry salon in New York City.