The mail truck goes down the coast Carrying a single letter. At the end of a long pier The bored seagull lifts a leg now and then And forgets to put it down. There is a menace in the air Of tragedies in the making. Last night you thought you heard television In the house next door. You were sure it was some new Horror they were reporting, So you went out to find out. Barefoot, wearing just shorts. It was only the sea sounding weary After so many lifetimes Of pretending to be rushing off somewhere And never getting anywhere. This morning, it felt like Sunday. The heavens did their part By casting no shadow along the boardwalk Or the row of vacant cottages, Among them a small church With a dozen gray tombstones huddled close As if they, too, had the shivers.
From The Voice at 3:00 a.m.: Selected Late and New Poems by Charles Simic. Copyright © 2003 by Charles Simic. Reprinted by permission of Harcourt Trade Publishers. All rights reserved.