The City

By BRUCE BOND

 

 

Let us say you are. You are the girl

who, looking out her window to the city,

 

takes on the grey pallor of the day,

the way some lizards take on the green

 

shade of the season they are in, so close

to the garden the garden cannot find them.

 

The cold hand reflected in the glass,

the one that touches her hand, or rather

 

the chill of skies that fall between them,

it mirrors a need in her, sweet with rain,

 

with the dark of cinderblock apartments

that just might be reaching out in turn.

 

They just might surprise the mirror to life

like a visitor’s kiss at a prison window.

 

Not that the rain cares about its kisses,

or the note of sadness we bring to it.

 

Still the empty gleam of public benches

strangely comforts her, like superstition,

 

or the man who walks from last night’s dream

to sit and crackle open a sheet of news.

 

Every page he turns is the sound of rain.

Every world a world on fire. To live in

 

the city is to feel it, read it, wonder

where the storm sweeps the indigents

 

whose eyes we once avoided in our haste.

Days like this were made to pry us open,

 

to dust the lonely glass of the cabinet.

Made to listen. To her, to the bare room

 

behind her, to the faint sound of things

as they break into small and smaller things.

 

This is the logic of rain, of the widow

transfixed before some beautiful reminder:

 

when a world goes missing, it starts to speak.

I want to know. Is there no such thing

 

as the whole picture until it shatters,

until it becomes a girl by a window,

 

a scattering of daylight tinged with night.

How much of seeing is the need to see,

 

and how much of needing can be seen,

crumpled in flames beneath the visible.

 

Is the face she looks through her face

or hers returning after an all night trip,

 

its hair drenched, the sense of its body

moving still. She too longs to arrive,

 

to lay her silence in an open question,

a grave that loses its outline to the grass.

 

Or to lead to a better question, a closer

face that blurs in the drizzle of being

 

near, that touches her, for real this time,

and so, like water, vanishes from view.

 

 

Bruce Bond is the author of eight published books of poetry, most recently The Visible: Poems (LSU, 2012), Peal: Poems (Etruscan, 2009), and Blind Rain: Poems (Finalist, The Poet’s Prize, LSU, 2008). 

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Julia PikeThe City

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