February 29

I took the 6 to see you
and missed my stop.  Now I’m walking
ten more blocks, in the rain,
the smell of February mingling
with the smell of cigarettes,
the smell of exhaust, and
the heady perfume of
sugared almonds.  I’m not hungry.
I stop anyway. Two bucks
and a wax-paper bag
from a grubby hand.

Three more blocks and I’m
walking with a purpose.
I’m thinking of your long fingers
on accordion keys, and how I’d
rather be late for my own wedding
than late for your show.  I pass
dumpling joint after
thrift store after
coffee shop; they start
to run together, all brick
and neon signs.  I measure
distance by graffiti.

1st Street and Avenue A
was the address you gave.   Sidewalk Café.
I press my whole body against the door
and start to make my entrance
with deafening rainboot stomps,
until I feel your voice from the back
give me goosebumps.  I almost forget
to breathe.

 By Cassie Stoneman