If my methods were juvenile, yours
were all blood, cum & conquer.

If I was camouflaged, you were camoufleur.
If muse-starved, I was scarcely in your favor.

If to be mirrored was your motive,
it was mutual; if to last forever, mutual.

If downtown there is still a muraled stairwell
that leads to two doors: one deadbolted, the other

boarded over—I got everything I asked for.
Despite delusions of grandeur. Despite the night

& day difference between underground
& sellout, invincible & adult.

If there was one thing I asked for,
it was not to be seen & not heard.

If I was dreadlocked or angst-filled,
moon-pale or ethereal, you were adamant:

I was doomed to unravel. If memory serves,
you said as much that night by the river

gone swollen with snowmelt, gone viral
from trying to level with the trestle, that night

when your camera caught my wandering eye & made
my mind derail: my string of conditionals cascading

graffiti & all into your stone-cold waters, your glass gaze,
your brick wall. If your light-hungry world turned

me rabid, turned me pixilated;
if “a picture speaks a thousand words”

is a truism another, keener poet already had
his way with—say the apparition

of these faces in the crowd, say petals,
on a wet, black bough—

there was nothing left to steal.