Still but for the distinctive and ever evolving Crack
Of leather soles on imprecise brick.
I pause to watch lights turn off room-by-room
All neighbors — all anonymous.
Start forward again with no set goal but the knowledge somehow —
It is not yet time to return
To the safe isolation of my fourth floor walkup.
The streets offer a different isolation —
A semblance of purpose counterfeited by motion
And opportunity to observe.
Turn left into the warm domesticity of Louisburg Square
I spot the steady glow of Christmas lights
Pressed against a window by the perhaps overeagerly erected tree.
Advent begins tomorrow and yet the holiday traces spotted
Through windows and over doors
Seem alien and wrong; the year holds too much unfinished
Business to be ready for forced jollity.
Remember my hot chocolate but am too late;
The windless gelid air has thieved the lingering warmth.
Moments ago I burned my mouth in haste;
We push too soon or wait too long —
In both, we lose.
Catch a glimpse of the muraled sitting room so sparse
In furnishing and yet vibrant.
I imagine being young and home sick from school —
Fever dreams on the sofa of safaris to the jungle
Painted in two-dimensional majesty
On gently curving walls. Dreams are easy
Outdoors on the last day of November.
Realize that to be lonely is not to be alone.
There is no logical operator capable of reducing
One to the other; despite a plebeian tendency to make
No differentiation. Rather, loneliness is a no more straightforward
State of existence than is love, or happiness.
Perhaps the greatest loneliness
Is loneliness that is not shared.