from Blue Dark

Deborah Landau

the moon might rise and it might not
and if it brings a ghost light we will read beneath it
and if it returns to earth
we will listen for its phrases
and if I'm alone at the bedside table
I will have a ghost book to refer to
and when I lie back I'll see its imprint
beneath my blood-red lids:
not lettered ink
but the clean page
not sugar
but the empty bowl
not flowers
but the dirt
blame the egg blame the fractured stones
at the bottom of the mind
blame his darkblue glare and craggy mug
the bulky king of trudge and stein
how I love a masculine in my parlor
his grizzly shout and weight one hundred drums
in this everywhere of blunt and soft sinking
I am the heavy hollow snared
the days are spring the days are summer
the days are nothing and not dead yet
worry the river over its banks
the train into flames
worry the black rain into the city
the troops into times square
worry the windows cracked acidblack
and the children feverblistered
worry never another summer
never again to live here gentle
with the other inhabitants
then leave too quickly
leave the pills and band-aids
the bathroom scale the Christmas lights the dog
go walking on our legs
dense and bare and useless
worry our throats and lungs
into taking the air
leave books on the shelves
leave keys dustpan
telephones don't work where you were
in the chaos
and I couldn't bear it
the children nearing the place
where the waves wet the shore
vaporous force
rising imperceptibly behind
we were talking about circumstance
horizon-gates swinging open
beneath the cherry blooms
wave rising in the background
impalpable and final
a girl in a white dress       barefoot
wasn't I right to ask her to move in from the shore
this is the last usable hour
bird lured
through the window
a little sweet fruit
I could die here
and the hearsedriver
would take me out of this city
I'd say my name to him
as we crossed the Triboro
I'd say it softly         the way he likes it
it would be the last time
I'd introduce myself that way
Copyright 2011 by Deborah Landau. Reprinted from The Last Usable Hour with the permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Poems by This Author

Domestic by Deborah Landau
At night, down the hall into the bedroom we go

Further Reading

Related Poems
from One Time
by Christian Wiman
But Men Loved Darkness Rather Than Light
by Richard Crashaw
Dark Matter
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Ivory Black [BLACK breathing BLACK at the window]
by Myriam Moscona
by Rachel Zucker