You said you would give me a second
chance, not two days after you left.
You were not where you were supposed
to be the day before, so people called
me, unaware of what had happened.
I was worried, tried to find you,
but couldn’t. You found me, agreed
to meet the next day. You came with
a long list of changes I must make,
all or nothing. I said okay. You
misunderstood my meaning.
The only difference between computers
and humans, we’re told, is the ability
to recognize speech patterns. If
I say to a computer, “I can recognize
speech,” it might type, “I can wreck
a nice beach.” When we send articles
or comics to friends, computers ask
us for random words or phrases
to prove our humanity. We met
at the beach we had walked not a year
earlier. I hurried through sand to keep you
from leaving, told you my okay meant
yes, not no. It didn’t matter. You called
two days later, left again, less dramatically.
I still had sand in my socks and shoes,
shook them off the back deck time
and time again, but grains clung
tenaciously, glittered against the
dark of my insole, would rub my feet
raw for the next few weeks.
Kevin Brown is a Professor at Lee University. He has published two books of poetry–A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press) and Exit Lines (Plain View Press, 2009)–and two chapbooks: Abecedarium (Finishing Line Press, 2011) and Holy Days: Poems (winner of Split Oak Press Chapbook Contest, 2011). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again (Wipf and Stock, 2012), and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels (Kennesaw State University Press, 2012). He received his MFA from Murray State University.