It was hardly a high-tech operation, stealing The Scream. That we know for certain, and what was left behind-- a store-bought ladder, a broken window, and fifty-one seconds of videotape, abstract as an overture. And the rest? We don't know. But we can envision moonlight coming in through the broken window, casting a bright shape over everything--the paintings, the floor tiles, the velvet ropes: a single, sharp-edged pattern; the figure's fixed hysteria rendered suddenly ironic by the fact of something happening; houses clapping a thousand shingle hands to shocked cheeks along the road from Oslo to Asgardstrand; the guards rushing in--too late!--greeted only by the gap-toothed smirk of the museum walls; and dangling from the picture wire like a baited hook, a postcard: "Thanks for the poor security." The policemen, lost as tourists, stand whispering in the galleries: ". . .but what does it all mean?" Someone has the answers, someone who, grasping the frame, saw his sun-red face reflected in that familiar boiling sky.
one day they showed me a dark moon ringed
with a bright nimbus on a swirling gray screen
they called it my last chance for neverending life
but the next day it was gone it had already
launched itself into the gray sky like an escape
capsule accidentally empty sent spiraling into the
unpeopled galaxies of my trackless gray body