Saturday, December 10, 2011


Night, sporting her lover’s black sportcoat
—a few sizes too large at that—

arrived unlooked for & said: You knew I’d be back,
— her voice a traumatized snowdome—

always a small woman despite her sunglasses—white
smoke from her cigarette coalesced to lace curtains—

& those windows offered a vista on the lost
highway & headlights shining on poplar leaves—

green enamel dishwasher on casters in a dark hallway,
a linen closet, a metal frame twin bed, an orange crayon

the apple tree stunted by the fence’s corner
brace heaped white & gray with cold rocks—

a maple bannister, a red tin roof, a chrome guitar hushed
on a stand—everything in angles & hard—

no, I never was sure, I said—in black & white she
sat next to me on a red loveseat—it was all as if in a

silent movie—a movie that grinds to a close in a
smoking projector—lost highway—empty white farmhouse—

smoke—everything I wanted to believe right there in a
poem like a fistful of white pills—like

the redwinged blackbird’s trill from the wild apple—
the purple finches frenetic in a spring snow flurry—

which have morphed to stone silence & muted
sepia photographs on a gravel road in frozen fog—

ice crystals invading the lungs—breathe despite them—
she said: wake up, it’s time to go home—

Jack Hayes
© 2011


  1. Hi Titus: Thank you so very much!

  2. Sounds and pictures aplenty here, John. A delight.

  3. Hi Dick: Thanks--really appreciate that!

  4. "a chrome guitar hushed on a stand" and "the purple finches frenetic in a spring snow flurry" are two particularly beautiful moments in the poem. Even though most of the poem seems to be dominated by shades of dark gray and black, I like how colors spring out of it, like the red loveseat and an orange crayon. It's like an effect used in some films or photographs where everything is in black and white except for a single object. I also like how the image of the woman is mysterious; her appearance is "unlooked for" but it's unclear how much her presence is desired or not. Very dreamlike.

  5. Hi HKatz: Thanks! I really appreciate how carefully you read poetry--you often see things I didn't think about myself. Thanks so much!

  6. Very much enjoyed this darling. = )

  7. Hi Mar: So glad you liked it! Thanks.


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