Mark Olmsted
1 min readMar 3, 2021
photo: Michael Van Essen

The Germans

must have a word for it.

The sensation of missing someone

whom you are with,

anticipating the longing

you will soon feel

when they depart.

“I miss you already,” we say,

as if this makes any sense.

We regularly steal from the future

to feed our present tense,

our secret addiction to the holograph

of someone

over his flesh and bone.

The man next to us in bed

is never as perfect

as the one in our head.

No wonder great loves

of the past

made their nest

from letters.

Ink as the quantum reality

of absence and presence


What sweet succor comes with age,

if you are lucky.

These days,

I am perpetually late to anticipation.

Nostalgia, finally, a thing of the past.

My youthful prayers

to be here now

unexpectedly answered —

99% of the time.

One must permit

a fugue now and then,

into fantasy or fear.

Imagining Portofino may be

as close as I get to being there.

Only one future destination

is guaranteed.

But why set out

the welcome mat for that?

The hooded angel

will appear at my door soon enough.

I have lost enough years

preparing for its arrival.

There is probably a German word

for that, too.

MC0 2020

Mark Olmsted

Author, "Ink from the Pen: A Prison Memoir" about my time behind bars. See GQ dot com “Curious Cons of the Man Who Wouldn’t Die” for story of how I got there.