The meetings with the man on the toilet will end Thursday

It is the right of the student to leave his shoes 

outside the bathroom for the man himself squats barefoot.  

In the mornings the man finishes another book, orders his milk,

and when the milkman comes to fetch his tip,

it is the right of the student

who has forgotten the money again to ask for forgiveness. 

It is forgiveness that trembles in the open

window and the open window that 

cries out to the world outside the bathroom

of the twenty-fourth floor

where the mirror is turned 

upside down on the floor

to support Picasso’s “Prophet holding a baby owl.”

In the bathroom,

it is Picasso who proffers the soap bar. In the bathroom, 

the student and the man talk little, drink milk,

listen to the marionettes for it is winter, 

and finally come to the conclusion that there will never be

anything of substance to argue about, and so

the meetings with the man on the toilet will end. It is Thursday. 

It is the right of the student to leave the bathroom at this point. 

At this point the man will stand up 

from his seat, flush, wash, sigh.

The milkman will himself choose to take a rain check,

The student will, as is his right, mention to his mother

the name of the man with whom he has spent

his mornings, and his mother will lament to the church. 

The mirror will be newly hung 

on the wall opposite the window,

and as the snow nestles into the cracks of the 

lonely apartment, a voice will 

be heard on the telephone, sullen but crisp,

answering the questions it has posed to itself.