Linda or Anne, in blue and green

Anne Green, a name that comes back
from Washington Square,
was a Stanford girl in nineteen fifty-nine—
one of a swatch.

Now she’d be wearing black
I suppose, some forty-four or five
years later: if she’s still alive—

it’s all so long ago:
how could I ever know
if she were the girl who came back,
nameless and in a dream,
somewhere round five o’clock
this morning. (Later. I called up her name;
they seemed more or less to match;
also her face and stature.)

I hardly knew her at all,
nothing at all of her nature:
just one of the graduate English crowd
who never took the same courses as I
nor shared any special friends.

But when the summer vacation came
and I (and my then wife) spoke
of going to New York—
wanderers abroad—
in the American way she said
‘Call in any time’

So there we were outside
a four-floor brownstone on Washington Square,
wondering which floor was the family flat.

We only saw the second floor,
where we chatted, met Anne’s parents,
had drinks or coffee, in something like that sequence,
before, pleasing and having pleased,
we were released

into bohemian SoHo: the whole of New York spread out.

I never saw or heard of her again.



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