if I could be anyone for a minute, it’d be you.
Socks up, shortstop, feet light.
Pop hit to ground ball, you pivot
from God to base with ease
particularly in the ‘07 series,
when your knees were full
of the cartilage needed
and slide it on home.
Humble with a capital RBI,
what I wouldn’t do
to get a second in you,
run your body down the green so fast,
pinch hit your neon Fenway heart
way over the Citgo sign into Kenmore.
Dustin, make it a double. Hell,
make it 15, I’ll be you finely,
I’ll show you off,
I’ll show you proof of joy.
James Mercer, once
I attended a party at your house
on Southeast Thirtieth and Pine.
We didn’t meet. You weren’t there.
A rental, the party-throwers told me
you’d drafted their year-long lease
with a specific provision protecting the original
beveled teak banister with spindled balusters,
and absolutely no dogs. No matter.
I snuck upstairs anyway,
locked the bathroom door and the party behind me
and cried because Elliott Smith
recorded XO in the basement two stories
below. How, James Mercer, I loved another
man when I was still married
named Rob, who was your roommate
years before in a cold-water Pearl flat,
how did we still never meet, not even when you cast
Rob in The Shins’ video for “Australia,”
filmed on a used car lot, low-fi, helium balloons
for props and you forbid any of the band members
fuck around too much lest they pop. James,
comptroller of minor chords and original
wainscoting, if I could be you for the whole
Wincing the Night Away, I’d rock you
wicked, inhale all the helium, double track
from Division down to Produce Row,
place an apple on my head and aim
an arrow for my heart.
Dear you, I’d like to be you,
particularly while loved by me.
You’d love me because everybody loves
lone green wolf eyes and your wiles.
What is it like to be the chased, evading
unchaste visions, to open an envelope
of naked adoration and find me
swathed in fur, beckoning with love letters.
If I were you I’d roam the forest at night
looking for owls, one soft ear pricked homeward,
where the woodstove has burned all day
with the memory of my arms
and the faded blue light of a long feed.
Nicole Chvatal writes property deeds and lives in Maine. Her work has appeared in Pilgrimage and Verseweavers. She is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.