Ten Dates

We managed ten dates over my weekend trip to New York.
We hadn’t met yet, but I had heard great things,
and I had seen wonderful pictures of you, your friends, your hair.

We both said “Hi” at the same time and laughed,
but not in a cute first-date way.
I was off to a horrible start and couldn’t focus
as you told me about your parents and your sister
and your grandmother who had died last year.

You were somehow charmed by my vacant eyes
and asked to see me again, for a real date.

Date one was nice.
Date two was better, and we held hands.
On date three you said my name for the first time.
Date four was fast and over with before I even got comfortable.
Date five almost didn’t happen, but after a few rearrangements, we worked it out.
Date six was more fun than date two, even though we didn’t hold hands.
Date seven was quiet because your sister was home.
Date eight was okay, because you were tired, and
date nine was worse because I was drunk.
Date ten was awkward because I couldn’t stop crying.

I realized I’m not a good dater in New York.
I show up at all the wrong moments
and make you laugh when you don’t want to.

And yet, you even started to like the way
I pronounced your name,
and smiled every time I forgot
what country your grandmother was from.

Our walk to the train station
was sobering and cold,
and as I climbed aboard,
I remembered,
your grandmother was Somalian.

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