Suddenly it isn’t the day we thought it was.
Not the day, nor the hour nor the season.
I am dressed in gingham, you in close-knit flannel.
There are no appointments to keep. And so I leave
My dress at the edge of this day, beside your coat and trousers
And I say, John James,
We are circling and circling–Come stand with me on this shadowed incline.
The grass continues, so too the trees,
So too the stream and its talk of distance.
We will not be overseen. Come lie here prone
Where my loose hands cup your name,
Where the soil is dark and difficult and cold.
I’ll tell you what’s to come.
I gave the child a coin; it promised not to speak.
Beyond the shallow lake, a leak had come
through the ceiling. Paint ran, and the face
the crowd had worn was now become
For instance, the servant girl, staid,
in severe linen, now wore her coyness like a bell.
‘remember, keep quiet!” I said, hurrying off.
If I got to her in time, she might yet remember
some past we might have had, in a nameless Welsh room.
©2004 by Jesse Ball. Reprinted with permission from Grove Atlantic, Inc. All rights reserved.