by Francesca Abbate
He tries to remember what the letter said
the first time he read it, which is like trying
to remember the look of the city you live in
before you knew it too well. Sometimes he sits
for hours, the clock loud on the kitchen wall,
the chair loose under his crossed legs, and out there,
the watchfulness of the trees, the gray river.
There was some message, a code he's forgotten.
But what can he do? What else can the mind do
with a map charting so much dark water?
At night, it turns the familiar colossal, ungainly,
tries driving its audience wild with dreams.
The heroes go down singing. They go down
with mouths full of thorns. There's the stage again,
and the smell of the house - autumnal, heavy
with smoke and leaf dust - and there
he is, calling out from the wings, "Moon,
you're so rich, why don't you buy me something?"
And the moon sailing into the curtain's blue folds.