четверг, октября 06, 2005

Late August afternoon: a man comes out of a square grey house

in a grey suit, as if subtracting some of its gloom.

He pauses on the steps to wipe his eyes with the back
of his hand, blows his nose into a plaid handkerchief,

cuts across the grass and is gone. Three cars
are passing by. A widow, nearly invisible at the wheel,

notices his stooped stance, his drawn look, and assumes
his cat has died. That's how her Harry looked - couldn't

bear to face her - when he left his favorite hat on the hook
and her alone with the lifeless thing for hours.

The middle man, in a grey jogging suit, honks when her car
stops for no apparent reason; while, in the last car, a girl

with bilateral scars on her wrists, considering another attempt,
is distracted for a moment by what she sees: some guy

sweeping out of that small dead-pan house like her father did,
more like a visitor than someone who lives there, all emotion

packed in his alligator shoes. He will sleep elsewhere tonight,
she's sure: she, too, has dabbed her eyes, blown her nose

for effect, so whoever's watching - an old woman holding back
the door, a boy with his chin to the windowsill between

two dead asparagus ferns - may grow to see her
in a friendlier light, may even come to speak her name

aloud (in a kinder tone) or write it on an envelope
by autumn's end. If not October, then November when

the wind barges and barrels in and this time may crack
the long-ailing elm. Definitely, before year's end and the first

serious storm when the lines go down and the brown river swells
and a sheet of ice spreads itself, thin, over every roof and walk,

freezing each torn leaf in the sacred spot where it fell.

Susan Berlin
"If not October"

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