Issue 79, Spring 1981
The deep water in the travel poster finds me
In the change as I was about to back away
From the idea of the comedy around us—
In the chairs. And you too knew how to do the job
Just right. Trumpets in the afternoon
And you first get down to business and
The barges disappear, one by one, up the river.
One of them must be saved for a promise, But no,
The park continues. There is no space between the leaves.
Once when there was more furniture
It seemed we moved more freely not noticing things
Or ourselves: our relationships were wholly articulate
And direct. Now the air between them has thinned
So that breathing becomes a pleasure, an unconscious act.
Then when you had finished talking about the trip
You had planned, and how many days you were to be away
I was looking into the night forests as I held
The receiver to my ear, replying correctly
As I always do, to everything, having become the sleeper in you.
It no longer mattered that I didn’t want you to go away,
That I wanted you to return as quickly as possible
To my house, not yours this time, except
This house is yours when we sleep in it.
And you will be chastised and purified
Once we are both inside the world’s lean-to.
Our words will rise like cigarette smoke, straight to the stars.