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"The Lexington" original poem by Kelly Alexandra Hoff, 2019

"A man stares at me from the bar.

             A concubine?

             No, not me.

                    Why is he doing that with his chest?  That energy?

            Suggesting a drink?

                       Like the men from my past?

While I'm on something that I didn't know was a date.

I'm a date with a man in a hat.

       He orders the muscles and the cheese.

I talk of trauma.

I talk of loneliness.

           He gets impatient.

In the hallway, with the mirrors.

                 I decide I'll kiss him.

The fanciest place I've ever been, 

           compared to how I feel.

           The people stare.

My friend is nice.

           He's cordial.

                       He knows how to speak.

But still the eyes.

           Like I'm a concubine.

                       Look at me.

Why don't they believe

           that he really wants to meet me?

I ordered the Israel.

I like a man that will talk.

I like a man that will listen.

But I'm not a concubine.

I'm not your sin.

I like feeling graceful.

The feel of my dress.

I like how he talks.  His voice.

Why did I drink so much?

I'm barely thinking about what's next.

I like the way he talks.

His voice has a quality that slightly reminds me of my father's.

I rarely encounter that.

He's my Russian friend in a hat.

He bought me some nuts at the candy store.

He let me play his accordion.

After the jazz club, on the street.

Near a metal table.

           It felt so European.

I miss my friend.

            Now he's in France.

And now I'm alone.

           Waiting for my love to come visit from Missouri.

I feel so alone here in America.

Is that why I met this man in a hat?

Because my heart's felt so cracked?

I hope my friend in the hat comes back.

His hair is curly and black.

He said he's going to France,

           but he'll be back.

Is it because I'm so skinny?

Is it because he's older than me?

The pain in my chest.

Oh, please don't leave me.

I didn't even expect him to come up and say "hi" to me.

A musician, a man.

          I, in a Blackhawks cap."

~ "The Lexington," ("My friend in a hat") by Kelly Alexandra Hoff, January 2019

published online:  March 6, 2022

The Lexington: Text
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