Elegy Indistinguishable from Compliments Owed a Woman
Tonight you are a komodo dragon; everyone else is mice.
Tonight your every gesture brushes crumbs into a palm,
the genetic evidence of an eyelash
taken up in the beak of some toy bird with good instincts,
who knows how to prevent the slow inversion of its bones
through the pores of its paper skin,
staff & notes as seen from the back of the page of a
score held in front of steady light.
Tonight you are the lighter; I am the cigarette meant
for wind that turns on the chance the architecture met
like buildings in a busy intersection,
which are not yet infinite, but it seems every corner has a cat backed into it
that is indifferent to rescue. Tonight you are the knife
alright to guide toward the pad of my thumb although the only way to know
when the flesh of the fruit will give is to cut a great
deal, enough for everyone.
Tonight you are the event & I am the question black tie or black suit,
or just how big was your father’s heart attack that took
weeks in dream-time, like a trip of saddlebags & sway ending in a rush of parachute.
Tonight you’re lifting off to other things; I am other
like char around the launch site, like terra cotta shingles come loose from the roof;
I am a noise above the pavilion while you’re the report No sign of her, sir.
Vents tonight release orchids of steam, almost perfected into a geometry of columns
the archeologist no one is rooting for paces in, hands
behind his back, a prisoner who is obviously free to go but doesn’t, some shaft of light
he hasn’t broken with his body yet his sure to trip a sensitive trigger,
all it requires is the will to blunder further, some Aramaic or shorthand, an esoteric passcode
emanating like magnetism from his mouth. You are your name;
tonight & every night are the same; I am the point at
which the imperial slips
from being merely amnesic to humble, a forehead set against the cool step of a temple in Europe,
the return home suddenly huge, because there is no moon.
66 The Paris-American
W. M. Lobko’s poems, interviews, & reviews have appeared in journals such as Hunger Mountain, Slice, & Boston Review. New work is forthcoming from Seneca Review, The Literary Review, & Grist. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is a Founding Editor of TUBA, a new review of poetry & art. He studied at the University of Oregon & currently teaches in New York, where work on his poetry & his novel The Quick Brown Fox doggedly continues.