Date created: April 2010
Consider A Move
The steady time of being unknown,
in solitude, without friends,
is not a steadiness that sustains.
I hear your voice waver on the phone:
Haven't talked to anyone for days.
I drive around. I sit in parking lots.
The voice zeroes through my ear, and waits.
What should I say? There are ways
to meet people you will want to love?
I know of none. You come out stronger
having gone through this? I no longer
believe that, if I once did. Consider a move,
a change, a job, a new place to live,
someplace you'd like to be. That's not it,
you say. Now time turns back. We almost touch.
Then what is? I ask. What is?
THIS IS WHY
He will never be given to wonder much
if he was the mouth for some cruel force
that said it. But if he were
(this will comfort her) less than one moment
out of millions had he meant it.
So many years and so many turns
they had swerved around the subject.
And he will swear for many more
the kitchen and everything in it vanished --
the oak table, their guests, the refrigerator door
he had been surely propped against--
all changed to rusted ironwork and ash
except in the center in her linen caftan:
she was not touched.
He remembers the silence before he spoke
and her nodding a little,
as if in the meat of this gray waste
here was the signal
for him to speak what they had long agreed,
what somewhere they had prepared together.
And this one moment in the desert of ash
stretches into forever.
They had been having a dinner party.
She had been lonely.
A friend asked her almost joking
if she had ever felt really crazy,
and when she started to unwind her answer
in long, lovely sentences like scarves within her
he saw this was the way
they could no longer talk together.
And that is when he said it,
in front of the guests,
because he couldn't bear to hear her.
And this is why the guests have left
and she screams as he comes near her.