Please, No

Two words, and almost always
unspoken,     please, no
a telepathic, eye-blink imperative

Choosing a side door
I’ve never seen before
I am revolving out
the Met Museum foyer
as Jackie Onassis,
head bowed, spins in
making her discreet entrance.
I do a double take.
Her great white eyes implore
Please, no.
My head dips down,
assenting. Her eyes
beam Thank you.
Her secret was safe with me.

On a New England street
I see a former loft-mate,
an art school graduate
I had coached toward
his first ad agency job.
I start to call his name,
then see his sunken cheeks,
the skelton walk, the way
he leaned against his friend.
He sees me. Please, no.
his deep-sunk eyes implore.
I turned away. Kenny
was dead a few months later.

His family erased him,
his epitaph an oak blast
wind whispering
Please, no.

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