HE SLEEPS AND DREAMS HER
(after "Arab Song, 1932" by Paul Klee)
It is late afternoon. The colors of the room are dim-
ming to a soft haze. She is hiding in the curtain.
She closes her eyes to mask her fear. She does not
belong here, but here she is, waiting for his dream to
release her. There are spies everywhere; they lurk and
listen for her breathing; the corridors are full of them.
The hours slow and thicken. Still he sleeps, holding
her fast in his dream. She gropes and gropes at the
folds of the curtain that twines and twists around her.
The light in the room is almost gone. He watches
her through his sleep. He keeps hiding the door. The
window is a mirage. And in the mirage is the curtain.
THE WAITING DAY
(after "Summertime, 1943" by Edward Hopper)
What is left for the young woman
of yesterday to do
but go on waiting, poised and ready
to step down from the stair.
But she is held by something :
the sun on her face—
her hand on the white pillar,
perhaps to balance her indecisiveness.
The door-shadow behind her
seems to draw her back,
an open window-curtain
Her white dress
flattens against her.
Wall-shadow stays perfectly still
as soft green sunlight swiftly changes
to the harsh light of the lengthening hours
while she still stands there, as if frozen.
LOW WINDOW LIGHT
The window used to hold her there,
standing and watching the day change,
her eyes holding the vague eye of distance.
However far it was, she was patient.
The room darkened behind her, the window
glinted, caught the last of the sunlight.
She grew timeless then. The waiting
never ended. The patience understood
Russian wolfhound outside the window,
small black birds pecking at cement—
things to ponder in times between.
You—so sad you start to cry,
asking if truth is worse than lie.
Things to ponder in times between:
small black birds pecking at cement,
Russian wolfhound outside the window.
PRIVATE WOMEN IN DOCTORS’
these women in
Doctors’ waiting rooms
some with good humor
on their faces
with a baby
caught all our attention
became the one
looked at any of us
her eyes phrased past
into her own shadows
which were everywhere
she was mysterious
wore only a diaper
and squirmed on her lap
took the bottle
lay back in her arms and
looked up at her
was at the child
AS IF I AM THE IMAGE OF REGRET
the rush of wings
through a fast mirror
made of air;
as if I am the waiting glass
for the escape of
a word of long ago,
finding me here for its use,
and I am blessed—
as if I am the certainty
of wisdom . . .
to let all this happen,
even as I hold my breath
through the forgetfulness of others.
Poems on the wall,
as on the wind,
poems written in passing,
waiting to be read by
lonely strugglers of life
—on their way
to exile, or to
—oh, through all weather
and stories of strife
—oh, limping and falling forward
into time passing before them.
And there I am.
having left my words
in little time-cracks—whisperings
that faded there, holding
the thoughts I had to leave,
dateless now, and viable,
though very hidden
under shadow-dust and grime.
And it is for this that we say such things.
PERSPECTIVE ON WAITING
too short—too long,
too measured by
itself—too much a part
of slippery timelessness.
Here. Then gone.