How could I forget
        that hour in the corner,
behind the pool table,

under the cues?
        The chairs were just there,
brown leather, waiting

against a wood wall
         where pairs of names
were firmly etched.

The players kept reaching
        over our heads—
I don’t remember what you said,

or I said, just the scene,
        the way we were tucked in
and when a player leaned,

another layer. Does this seem
        like a stretch,
that our minds incline

toward moments
        that are self-contained?
The heart holds out

its kerosene lamp in vain,
        digging is an art
of the brain—

seduced by hard-to-reach
        places, the spaces
themselves.

We lasted on and off
        for a year.
You whispered things

I can no longer hear.
        The dark recessed
corner, the encroaching

figures are now embossed:
        the shapes last
when the feeling is lost.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 28 Number 6, on page 28
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