I have been beside you
all night like soaped windows,
like the iron fence
around a city park, like the hedge
whose grey-green musk and webs
remind you of Greenwich,
solitary morning prayer,
the country-club policy on Jews.
“That’s why I’m a mountain,
I am cold and pointy at the top,”
I said, asleep,
the Oracle of Hollywood Boulevard.
Your sad question:
Where were we?
Then, seeing that you weren’t,
Was I there?



You seem a little freaked out. Am I right?

Yup.


Why?

I’m a journalist. I like asking questions, not answering them.

I thought you were an editor.

I was, for a number of years, an editor at The New Yorker. Now I write full time for the magazine.


Then you’re not someone I can submit stories, poems, or pitches to?

That’s right. That is beyond my security clearance.

So who—

I think you were going to ask me something about living in California—do I like it? Do I miss New York?

Right. How do you like living in Los Angeles? Do you ever miss New York?

I love Los Angeles. I moved here a little more than five years ago, the winter that it rained so much that swimming pools slid off the hillsides. That summer, there were spider webs the size of stop signs on my back porch, and then I got to feel my first earthquake. I go back to New York a lot, so I never really have a chance to miss it. What I really don’t miss is grocery shopping in New York. That’s really hard.

Why are your poems so short?

They’re getting longer. Some of the poems in the new manuscript I’m working on go on for pages. But I still think like an editor, and I like to cut, so we’ll see where they end up.