Singles in Your Area

by Luke Reid

Loneliness, in its supreme design,
scours living down to a nerve. How
keenly you quiver at the faintest Hello,
the chance to say I’m fine.

Waiting in the checkout line
you eye the cashier with woozy belief
and think: I could enter her life.
It would be different this time.

As if the thread that patterns your mistakes
(to push what loves you clean away)
could untwist itself from your DNA.
Much safer here, where the body aches

for what it can’t have, the unseen voyeur
savoring each detail at a remove:
the whisp of hair she smooths
then slowly fingers around her ear.

*Photo courtesy Laura Thorne.