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Arnold Klein

“Did I know her?”
If by “her” was meant the twenty-years-ago her,

And by “know,” meant
“Have killed yourself for missing out on,” yes—the moment

She turned to me
And quizzed me from the next computer. What, though, threw me

Was how like to
Hers another’s lines now were, could one but strike two

Decades off her—
A kid pursued because of her she seemed to offer

One more chance at.
Were hers a look ahead to hers—or hers a glance at

That back then hers?
So one gestalt-switched blue-eyed, long-thighed, five-foot-ten hers

While we caught up.
Marriage and divorce, however, neither brought up.

“Could I place her?”
Yes, a kid unzipping her portfolio case, her

Lithograph a
Skull in bridal veils—expressing, had I half a

Brain, her haste for
Escaping Nassau County, not our common taste for

Cyril Tourneur.
And so I left this business on the far-back burner,

Giving it a
Year to simmer, and myself, that long to quit a

Chick, who (lad that
I was) I was involved with then. Which if I had, that

Which I hoped for
Might have come to pass. Instead, one marplot roped four.

Did she know—what?
That once I helped her get a job at Marvel. So what?

Just a favor.
But what she couldn’t know was that the lead I gave her

I chose not to
Apprize a different girl of—my exquisite plot, to

Play the donor.
She met the guy she married there, of course. Next boner

Was to cue up
The other girl. We married. Both pairs split—mine blew—up.

Had I waited;
Or favored her, not her, which I indeed debated:

Whom had who wed?
Moot question, now. Not then: the players were that fluid.

That’s the rerun.
Fast-forward twenty years, and what you get is me run

Rings around by
Her, the second her. What was I so spellbound by?

How jejune it
Must sound to say her body. But as something unit

Half below the
Waterline looks split, that split, too; and although the

Lover strained to,
He couldn’t get them recombined. When he attained to

After thirteen months pursuit, dissociation

Was to hound him.
Which was only fair: resemblance had spellbound him.

Every twosome
Is a long shot: you meet—somehow, some way—some few, some

Few outliers
Of whom are entertainable: a win requires

A trifecta
Of circumstance, appeal and will. So whadja expect ta—

Cakewalk through things?
I did expect that once—could not conceive I’d screw things

Up so snarly
They’d stay that way forever—that mistakes would parlay,

Not successes.
So do I know her? Yes. But how opaque that yes is.