What should I say? Vast trains
over brief miles and tomorrow
isn’t even here yet: is everyone
pulling everyone through unseen
hours as the moon watches? No—
the moon hears us like pieces
of doubtful music. I turn the light
back on and ask are you asleep now.
Are you asleep now? This is the hour
that curves out of our mouths
like syllables fallen into the wrong
words I said when you were asleep then.
What did I say? Prayer for the moon
to pull us from vacant days and buildings,
prayer for evening trains, the night’s pure
arc, these alleys where the dark slings
its body over shallow puddles and trash.
Like snow we are comforted most
by what we erase: wait for the light
to abandon these late avenues, linger
on the staircase outside your old studio,
listen for the ventral pulsings of this
almost human heart. I know how
lacing binds us like rooms along
dark halls: I know you are in the neon
air and I am wandering off: wandering
and perforated by minutes born
in the dry suspension of autumn—
what could I say? Here comes an outage
over every block and just one floor down
someone is torn apart and overheard.
I don’t know what’s left to be said:
are we hostages among the rotten
and the dead? The collected winds
fall apart, trains stop, and brush burns
again. Harrows are pulled over
fields we never tended—I never
remembered to pull from my throat
the words to make you stay more.
I know now that you are wandering off
and I am the neon air. An early light
digs up the city and is haunted.
Look into these palms lifted lightly:
there the dawn-motes are letting go.