There’s nothing here that would open the
But whatever I did or didn't doI did it to forget thatEither wayHe was the one asleep on the sidewalk,I was the one borne along in the carThat may as well have been a chariotOf empathy, a chariotThe crowd cheersEven as it weepsFor the captured elephant too wideTo squeeze throughThe triumphal archAnd draw home
Not gone, not here, a fern trace in the stoneof living tissue it can quicken from;or the dried–up channel and the absent current;or maybe it's like a subway passengeron a platform in a dim lit station lateat night between trains, after the trains have stopped—ahead only the faintest rumbling ofthe last one disappearing, and behindthe dark you're looking down for any hintof light—where is it? why won't it come? Youwandering now along the yellow line,restless, not knowing who you are, or where,until you see it; there it is, at lastapproaching, and you hurry to the spotyou don't know how you know is markedfor you, and you alone, as the door slides openinto your being once again my father,my sister or brother, as if nothing's changed,as if to be known were the destination.Where are we going? What are we doing here?You don't ask, you don't notice the blur of stationswe're racing past, the others out there watchingin the dim light, baffled,who for a moment thought the train was theirs.
to recollect only enoughof what they used to mean to sharpenthis feeling of now forgetting it--
Little lights along the catwalksand ladders running up and downthe water towers near the shore,and headlights shining into taillightsflashing on and off as faras where the lanes converge and branchoff into ramps that cars swerve outin front of other cars to take,while other cars swerve out from on-ramps,speeding or slowing as they merge.Sensation of war. Of being mobilized.Each urgent vehicle, each signaland counter signal, flash of brakelight, finger reaching for the scan,the tuner—all the too-small-even-to-be-recognized-as-small maneuvers of a massiveoperation, effect of ordersbeing passed down through a steelchain of command, from car to car
...the headlightssoon will sweep across, sweepingacross like searchlights overthe momentary faces and torsosof manikins arranged like decoysin civilian dress, in allthe postures of suspended living.
The gregarious babblemuffled the sharpwords the couplein the next boothwere trying allthrough dinner notto have;onlyan occasionalNo you, youlisten for a change,or How dare youor I can't believe thiswould riseabove the barelysuppressedstaccato pleasegod not nownot here rhythm ofan argument they wantedboth to swallowand spit out.
Then the pause,the momentarysilence in whichthe whole placeseemedto be listening