Again is the First Time

by Brian Sneeden

It is possible to have everything,
like listening for a music in the music.
Somehow I am walking down Patton
and Walnut, and somehow it is there—
the primordial quivering, catching a whiff
of magnitude down a side street:
a quality of sun and air, or the pairing
of two dead leaves on the sidewalk just so.
Turning, I pass a blonde woman in a turtleneck,
a dog tied to a bench and bam! find
the man who owes me twenty dollars.
It is possible to have everything, or at least
twenty dollars, which is also everything
when I spend it on a Death in the Afternoon
for my woman and myself, the champagne
and absinthe mixed to form a sort of cloud.
Like when I walked the Rue Delambre, at night,
blossoming inward like a chrysanthemum
for a small view of the Seine, and thought
for once, surely now is enough. To arrive
this late and still be the first. Like the body
saying, again for the first time. What
is everywhere offers itself, again, itself.

BRIAN SNEEDEN is an MFA candidate at the University of Virginia, where he holds a Poe/Faulkner Fellowship and serves as Poetry Editor for Meridian. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Harvard Review Online, Ninth Letter, and Virginia Quarterly Review. His manuscript, “Ithaka,” was a finalist for the 2013 New Michigan Press/DIAGRAM Chapbook Contest in poetry.