James Allen Hall

If you don’t believe foresight is a curse, then I wish you’d love a man,

knowing he won’t love you back.  Then you won’t kiss him

in the restaurant.  You’ll keep your hand out of his. 

You won’t believe him when he says you’re beautiful. 

None of us is beautiful when we see what’s coming.  Trust me: 

don’t spend the night.  Light will bow the trees, but notice

the dumpsters, overflowing white plastic bags of trash,

pierced open by birds.  Don’t be loved past expiration. 

Your body is not permanent.  The morning horizon is

its regular guillotine self.  The man will walk you out. 

Next thing you know:  I can’t complicate my life right now.  Don’t love

the tenderness in his voice at the moment of impact. 

He will not remember you even the shortest day of his life. 

Trust me: lay in the dark, head on his chest, watching

for his sleep.  Get up.  Fasten your pants without noise. 

Don’t kiss his forehead, don’t drink a glass of water, don’t scribble

your number on a kitchen napkin.  Ease shut the door. 

Just because you see what’s descending, even now—the boyfriend

dead in the crash, his body halved through the shattered windshield,

the man you love unconscious behind the wheel—don’t soften

his grief by holding him now.  The body he loves will not be shielded

except by the body he owns.  Passion saves only the blind.

Found In Volume 39, No. 04
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  • James Hall
James Allen Hall
About the Author

James Allen Hall’s first book, Now You’re the Enemy, has won awards from the Lambda Literary Foundation and from the Texas Institute of Letters.  A recipient of fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the University of Arizona Poetry Center, he teaches creative writing and literature at the State University of New York—Potsdam.