Published on Academy of American Poets (

Some Slippery Afternoon

A silver watch you've worn for years
is suddenly gone
leaving a pale white stripe
blazing on your wrist.

A calendar marked with all
the appointments you meant to keep
leaving a faded spot on the wall
where it hung.
You search the house, yard, trash cans
for weeks
but never find it.

One night the glass in your windows
leaving you sitting in a gust of wind.

You think how a leg is suddenly lost
beneath a subway train
or a taxi wheel
some slippery afternoon.

The child you've raised for years,
combing each lock,
tailoring each smile, each tear,
each valuable thought,
suddenly changes to a harlequin,
joins the circus passing in the street,
never to be seen again.

One morning you wash your face,
look into the mirror,
find the water has eroded your features,
worn them smooth as a rock in a brook.
A blank oval peers back at you
too mouthless to cry out.


Copyright © 1977 by Daniela Gioseffi. “Some Slippery Afternoon” originally appeared in Eggs in the Lake (BOA Editions, 1977). Used with permission of the author.


Daniela Gioseffi

Daniela Gioseffi is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Blood Autumn/Autumno Di Sangue: Poems New and Selected (Bordighera Press, 2006), as well as several books of fiction, nonfiction, and translations.

Date Published: 2018-01-19

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