That night the town was far behind somewhere,
And now the city lay there in the road,
A velvet box, ribboned with braids of light.
They slept in an apartment where the view
Of quiet boats remanded them to sleep,
But wakened them in time to go, to do.
The first day was a famous monument
They spotted from afar but never found.
The second put them in a drowsy bar
Where afternoon became a narrow sound
Of traffic sloshing through the rainy day.
The next few days were duty. What they saw
Were underneaths of bridges, lines at doors.
Their nights were the apartment, where the view
At dusk was gull-swarmed barges hauling junk.
Meanwhile, the ones they swapped with sat and
What country life is like, upon a porch.
The husband, from the window, watched the storm.
His aging wife, in bed, no longer called.
The storm arrived as though on-time somewhere,
The blue tarp on the woodpile lifting up,
Blowing and floating higher in the gray,
Until by dusk it seemed a woman's gown
That never floated, as he'd hoped, away.
1997; originally printed in the Formalist. Reprinted by
permission of the author.
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