Anonymity by Anne Atik

These strollers here under the arcades,
these anonymous passersby,
how would you greet them if met at parties
except in banter?
“Are you vegetarian? Virgo?
Rhesus? An alto?
Mesomorphic? Melancholic? Here’s
someone sanguine. Phlegmatic?
Rheumatic? Optimist? You must be my-
opic. Blotto? Sit down. A zero? Now, now.”
But no, they walk past each other,
step out each in his rectangle
that isolates one from another.
These strangers whose blood types may be incompatible
walk down together, unmindful of any danger;
in fact some of them stroll hand in hand.
They navigate, swarm,
free to not give their name,
through what only cities make possible,
flow and reflux as home.
Throngs of the meanwhile, the now, the soon,
of a lovely day in decline.

From: Atik, Anne, “Anonymity” in Ploughshares, Vol. 32, No. 4, Winter 2006/2007, p. 9.

Date: 2006

By: Anne Atik (1932-2021)


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