The porch was quieter than usual.
Whatever sympathy there was
that contrived to lift the continuous things
from the things of no importance
—it didn’t last for more than a second.
You hadn’t realized that you had
a little headache from the light dinner
of boiled flowers and the heavy
vases of moonshine. To rouse yourself
into a closer, more quieted solicitude,
you answered the question that, just
a minute or so ago, you had sharply driven away:
“Under the hard inactive starlight,
what is saffron to silence? What duty
is gaily rising to the open door?”
You were waiting for the short moment
of good-bye to go lisping behind the weather
and to return as a monosyllable, deceiving
sorrier, more substituted sounds to escape.
On the haphazard canvas of memories,
fragments zigzagged into a dumb sort of
coherence, the shape of a life that isn’t your own
only in the sense that it was made manifest
in the false and vociferating trap of dangnation.
You read the palm of your hand
like the back page of the evening paper,
putting back into your mind
the little bit of conviction that was left
of its uncertain souvenir. “Arrest me,”
you said, disregarding no one in particular.
“I’m not sorry at all for tossing my penny
into the other side of the night.”