Night Falling Fast Poem
Was he gone for good? Or only an hour? Louise could never tell.
His hat was an afterimage fixed to the list of her eye. Was he tall and narrow,
did he wear white socks with black shoes, a fashion forgotten so long ago but recently reborn as retro? Was he missing
to her? Had her heart’s heart ever truly been his?
Or did she belong to whomever was wearing her arm
on his neck; her lip’s sweetish lavender kiss
still hung in the airless room. Night falling fast in a shadowed locale
where a thin line could mean either fact or forensics:
the track of a fracture or the time it might take to wrap up a body.
The China dog tugged at its leash while in the radium light,
center and slightly, a zebra stood standing still.
The day had been ethereal until…
And where was the other when she needed a friend
to whom she could lend an ear
in return for a bed that was wider than one?
Her eyes remained anchored
on some furry distance; a furrow erased from her brow.
Let yourself go, she said to herself, and she did
know how after all. The night continued the day.
A murder of crows went by. What would she have?
The last beloved restored
to canvas and hanging, a knife through his heart?
Or a new who excelled where others had fizzled to Fail,
floundering fish on a shoal. Let go the leash
of the bad dogs that are dragging you this way and that.
And indeed, the hand could unclasp (Look at that!).
The leash fell at her feet.
Across the room, five fish in a tank made six meager moves,
the last through the castle that kept them,
denizens of a splendid
language they spoke sotto voce.
Mary Jo Bang
from Louise in Love