"If God is Art, then what do we make of Jasper Johns?" One never knows what sort of question a patient will pose, or how exactly one should answer. Outside the window, snow on snow began to answer the ground below with nothing more than foolish questions. We were no different. I asked again: "Professor, have we eased the pain?" Eventually, he’d answer me with: "Tell me, young man, whom do you love?" "E," I’d say, "None of the Above," and laugh for lack of something more to add. For days he had played that game, and day after day I avoided your name by instinct. I never told him how we often wear each other’s clothes— we aren’t what many presuppose. Call it an act of omission, my love. Tonight, while walking to the car, I said your name to the evening star, clearly pronouncing the syllables to see your name dissipate in the air, evaporate. Only the night air carries your words up to the dead (the ancients wrote): I watched them rise, become remote.
From The Second Person by C. Dale Young. Copyright © 2007 by C. Dale Young. Reprinted with permission of Four Way Books.
C. Dale Young
C. Dale Young is the author of four poetry collections: The Halo (Four Way Books, 2016), Torn (Four Way Books, 2011), The Second Person (Four Way Books, 2007), and The Day Underneath the Day (Northwestern University Press, 2001).
Date Published: 2007-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/night-air