____ OR CURRENT RESIDENT

Chinese Kitchen on N. Main has been alive
longer than I have. 26th Anniversary, 15% off
boasts curly lettering, origin Microsoft Word.
I am stunned by the permanence of things.
Last winter an old friend of mine used to peer
into the misty shop window with me, watching
locals passionately devour steamed dumplings.
We swore we’d try them one day but never
got around to it. Dear Current Resident of
Apartment E, take this booklet of coupons,
for Big Easy Savings, Priced Low Every Day.
If only they knew I wish I could buy time.
That I wish I could fill my plate with heaps
of minutes, that I wish we could have been
permanent enough to make it inside. Maybe
we would’ve loved their sesame chicken, or
maybe we’d come back over and over for
the house special, or the beef lo mein or
maybe we’d deem it whatever and never
come back, passing the open sign every night
but at least we’d know. I’ve got a phantom
limb taste in my mouth that wouldn’t be
there if you had just kept walking me home.

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