“Attempts at description are stupid,” George Eliot says, yet one may encounter a fragment of unexhausted time. Who can name its transactions, the sense that fell through us of untouchable wind, unknown effort—one black mane?
—Anne Carson

The gate stood open to let
her spirit out. Somewhere above,
a cacophony of seagulls. I told him,
I think they know when someone’s died…
He laughed and said no. No, they don’t.
This permanent kind of ceasing, like
a train driver slowly braking miles ahead
of the stop. I’m expecting something
and it feels like wearing a silk shirt…
Language incorrigible, same as hurt.

Late summer. This ceaseless response.
Prolonged heat made me feel smudged.
It was not a bad feeling…to be a smear
on a windowpane…sticky but redolent,
light getting caught on me, then passing through.
The eras unfolded unblinkingly. No,
the past is not a foreign country.
The past is our country: pawned,
broke down and unforgivable, governed
by people we cannot trust, and we live in it.
Make me laugh and I will do anything.
Her face looking up at me with such a sweet
smile. Flushed from the drink or maybe the ride,
didn’t I say it would be a long ride.
Her mouth glowing red and crisp
like the dying end of a cigarette,
not out yet. You always loved
the girl inside the boy, how that girl
can make a boy more boy, just like
the boy inside the girl can make her girler,
just like salt makes sugar sweeter…
She was like an old piano you only had
to tread past lightly for a key to ring out
in alarm. I too was an old piano…
I wanted to say, Don’t feel so much!
But then I wanted to play a tune…