After Hours

Not yet five, and the light
is going fast. Milky and veined
a thin frost covers the flooded 
ruts of the driveway, the grass
bends to the winter night. Her face
is before me now; I see it

in the misted glass, the same
impossible smile and I can feel
again on my bare shoulder
the dew of her breath. We made
a life in two years, a sky
and the very trees, lost in thought.

I know what it is, to be 
alone, to have asked for everything, 
and to do without, to search
the air for a face that slipped away,
to wait, and what it exacts.
I don’t fear it, I say,

but I do, and this night
the wind against the window
and the top branches thrashing about
enter my life and I see
the coming time loose and dark
above me, with new strength.

From Collected Poems, 1952–1999. Copyright © 2000 by Robert Mezey. Published by University of Arkansas Press. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.