The moon rose like a blooming flower. The tin in the hand clattered its charge. We walked by in the wavering hour, I looking away, you chattering hard. Met by luck, with like destinations, We startled again at what ended in pique. Strollers out, seeing us, had no notion; A car alarm cycled its querulous shriek; Eighth Street sank in the crack of its nightfall; You pressed your satisfactions on me. You in your urgency remarked after all Kindling your passion was enmity; Passion had finally erased your calm, Made composure a prop of the past. I mugged that street noise, din, bedlam, Prevented my hearing your story at last. As I walked home the strollers were thinning, The moon bobbed above roofs like a ball, The shade at the bus stop waved to me, beckoning, And I nodded fast in the fast nightfall.
From Smokes. Copyright © 1998 by Susan Wheeler. Reprinted with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.