You don’t have to speak for me to know your apathy.
Your two-yard stare betrays you, your tracing right
to left across the page and off the page into the
space between my two eyes. Goodbye, you’re conveying,
to these headlines, and they’ll take their leave later
today decreeing, “Until we three meet again.”
At the back of a bar in Cleveland
one Sunday night, a man put down
his beer and told me he couldn’t
believe in the Apocalypse anymore.
His lips were calloused and thin, clinging
to his teeth, the color of jaundice.
They curled into a smile, and dimples
perched themselves off the smile’s tips.
When I asked him why he couldn’t believe
anymore, the dimples sank into his cheeks.
To keep my tears in, I kept my eyes shut
through all of last night.
I opened them at dusk and the tears ran
through my lashes and down into my mouth.
My cheeks are bulging out, but they are not
about to burst.
A group of schoolgirls from downstairs laughed,
and then the front door slammed shut.
Maybe the girls went out and took
their humor with them. Crickets
are chirping in the bushes along
the front porch, so maybe the girls stepped
outside and are about to laugh
to scare the crickets off their branches.
Crickets always make the loudest
sound on an early autumn night like tonight.
I will find time on Saturdays to sleep in.
I will be able to lie across my bed
through dawn. I will slip into imaginary
places and misremember that I have been
nowhere else, until I sit up inside
I will find that kind of time again. But
every weekday from today on, I will
wake up in twilight and go downstairs.
The world will illuminate as I sit in my chair.
You don’t burn out your eyes
looking at a star in the middle
of the night. But find it on
a line that lies inside
a constellation, and you’re blind.
“And if you gaze long enough into
an abyss, the abyss gazes back into you.”
I’ve been gazing here for too long a time
to turn my head away, and for too short a time
to match the pair of eyes on the other edge
of the darkness.