Alarmed, today is a new dawn,
and that affair recurs daily like clockwork,
undone at dusk, when a new restaurant
emerges in the malnourished night.
We said it would be this way, once this became
the way it was. So in a way we were
waiting for it. I still haven’t eaten, says the cook
in the kitchen. A compliant complaint.
I never eat, says the slender diner. It’s slander,
and she’s scared, like a bully pushing
lettuce around. The cook can’t look, blind with hunger
and anger. I told a waiter to wait
for me and I haven’t seen him since. O it has been forty
minutes it has been forty years.
Late is a synonym for dead which is a euphemism
for ever. Ever is a double-edged word,
at once itself and its own opposite: always
and always some other time.
In the category of cleave, then. To cut and to cling to,
That C won’t let leave alone. Even so, forever’s
now’s never, and remember is just
the future occluded or dreaming. The day has come:
a dusty gust of disgusting August,
functioning as a people-mover. Maybe we’re going
nowhere, but wherever I go
I see us everywhere. On occasions of fancyness,
or out to eat. As if people, stark, now-ish
people themselves were the forever of nothing,
the everything of nobody,
the very same self of us all, after all, at long
last the first.
Copyright © 2015 by Brenda Shaughnessy. Used with permission of the author.
Turning to watch you leave,
I see we must always walk toward
other rooms, river of heaven
between two office buildings.
Orphaned cloud, cioppino poppling,
book spined in the open palm. Unstoppable light.
I think it is all right.
Or do tonight, garden toad
a speaking stone,
young sound in an old heart.
Annul the self? I float it,
a day lily in my wine. Oblivion?
I love our lives,
keeping me from it.
From Orexia. Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Russ Spaar. Reprinted with the permission of Persea Books, Inc. (New York), www.perseabooks.com.