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.
Orange juice laps down Pennsylvania
Avenue, and people touch their lips
to the flood to lap up the pulp.
No one quite knows where
the juice flows from. All that people
know are clues murmured on
gusts of the autumn wind.
With all the townsfolk distracted,
the Pied Piper breaks into homes
and steals away baby photos in a sack.
With no one looking, Fatty Arbuckle
continues his one-man protest
outside the Supreme Court, praying
aloud for an appeal.
He smells citrus in the breeze,
hears the shatter of glass,
and still he stands,
as the townsfolk whisper
next to a river.