A tan light stalks the rooms now
(With their neoclassic moldings, waiting
For the tedium of words to subside),
That suits it all by draining the life out of it
All. She says, I was inert, I still am.
I think my touch carries almost to your mouth
A beaker of living silence
But then I have to excuse myself.
I am gone. I am always down here, gone
In the wet and wishing vectors of the street
That builds such an uproar. Noises run over me.
Do you know my name? I won’t be gone long,
Nor stay long once I’m back, you can bet.

In the morning there were thousands of mermaids
Expecting orders, but the once-weary enchanter
Kept them at bay, and nothing was performed that day,
Whether from civic malice, indifference, or just forgetting
For a few moments some thing that should never be forgotten
And being stuck with the different colors everything
Was as a result—not the chief one either—
Of it. The chauffeur lays his plan on the seat,
It being lunchtime. And beautiful birds, like bengalis
But more dazzlingly colored, hesitate above cars.
An elevator shoots up eighty stories with some debris in it:
“Sorry, this wasn’t meant for you.” Well I mean
We all of us like a little remembrance at times
But the absence thereof won’t make crops shrivel.
Besides, the gold of winter is clanging already
In dusty hallways. I have my notebook ready.
And the richly falling light will transform us
Then, into mute and privileged spectators.
I never do know how to end any season,
Do you? And it never matters; between the catch
And the fall, a new series has been propounded
With brio and elan. Looks like the face powder
On things is the next stage, step
In the staircase that plummets us from there
To here, without connivance or turpitude
On our part, and leaves us
Where it counts: just bemused revelers, no
Qualms, no frustrations, not even a sense of its being new.

An even sparkle contains us.
We are only fabulous beasts, after all.

This Issue

February 12, 1987