June 12

I am very often waiting for the story. It is less often that the story is waiting for me.  I was rounding Gramercy Park, thinking about enclosures and cow’s parsley and how good it feels to be called for jury duty when you are rudderless and free when I came in the sight of the great poetry editor Alice Quinn.   I had to cross the street that frames the park in order to get behind her.  She was clearly, in her seersucker and short sleeve cottons, on her way somewhere.   Perhaps she sensed my desperation.  I was wearing my Klimtian design reform tunic, a heavy linen French worker’s nightgown from, I am told, the nineteenth century, and stitched in red on the placket at about where the sternum falls is the code, unbreakable to me, “DD13”.   Perhaps she knew I was out of time.  But some part of her must have wanted to meet me because, like a thought or a small dog, a long receipt flew out of her pocket and fell at my Birkenstocked feet.  I picked it up for her.   It was, perhaps — I held it for mere instants — a post office receipt, but it had her hand on it, a list perhaps of her illicit dreams or the winners of all the great future prizes, or could it be, as I think on it years later, my own name?  We were the only two on the sidewalk.  Excuse me, I offered, and she turned, exasperated, then perhaps interested in my tunic.  You dropped this, I said, offering my pleat-bloused workers arm.   Thank you, she said, recovering from startle.  Are you Alice Quinn, I never dared to ask and wouldn’t even if I had the chance again in 1,000 lifetimes.   She scurried up Park Avenue while I planted myself in the shade — like a fern, I guess — and watched until I lost her, my organs bumping around in my breast with joy.

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