For a second, dejected
D. Gilson

We had talked about the ethical dilemma of dating
students, or former students, about handbags,
their value and their gender, about communion
and urinals, lapsed faith and our siblings prone
to threats of suicide. But when I asked you
a simple question -- what is the difference between
a buffalo and bison?
-- you pretended not to know
the answer and I imagined myself wandering through
life, moving to Pittsburgh and roaming the streets
unknowing, happening upon a stranger who asked not
for the time, but for a explanation of primal difference
and I would just as soon give him my loose change
than face my own ignorance. Later I will research
these species, learn for myself that the difference
in the way we think of it is moot, is nonexistent,
what we call buffalo is really the North American
Bison. I will tell you this and you will say exactly,
I will shake my head for a second, dejected, before
we break into the small laughter of friends, returning
to our laptops, to our books, to the tasks before us.