She wasn’t having one of her strange headaches tonight.
Whose fault is it? For a long time I thought it was mine,
blamed myself for every minor variation in the major upheaval.

It may have been the grass praying
for renewal, even though it meant their death,
the individual blades, and, as though psychic,
a white light hovered just above the lake’s layer
like a photograph of ectoplasm.

Those are all fakes, aren’t they?
In slow-moving traffic a man acts like he’s going to be hit
by the stream of cars coming at him from both directions.
Like a cookie cutter, a steamroller lops the view off.

There are nine sisters, nine deafening knocks on the door,
nine busboys to be bussed—er, tipped. And in the thievery
of my own dreams I can see the square like a crystal,
the only imaginary thing we were meant to have,
now soiled, turned under
like a frayed shirt collar
a mother stitches for her son who’s away at school,
mindful he may not care, may wear
another’s scarlet and sulfur raiment
just so he take part in the academy fun.

And later, after the twister, slowly
we mixed drinks of the sort
that may be slopped only on script girls, like lemonade.
Who knows what the world’s got up its sleeve
next brunch, as long as you will be a part of me and
all that I am doing?

This Issue

September 23, 1993