The late call and drive through empty streets
The locked doors and red-stamped folders
Flights on supply planes' folding seats
Checkpoints with jump soldiers
But today, strange light under leaden skies
That seems to come from the pelted leaves themselves ...
Was it ever real? Real as this is ...
Hours on winding country roads
Hours on household touchups
The weekend fairs and tractor shows
The land-use planning dustups
Where once the words that you typed at noon
Crossed the desks of presidents by dusk ...
Are you who you were? Were they what they seemed?
Now, with a heave of the fickle mob
The clowns that you harried out
Have retaken that town
As you watch silver seaming the mountainside
From afar comes the muffled thud
As your work is torn down
Those towers that divide the blue
Scaled to our aspirations
To find who will acknowledge you
To find out new sensations
The patterns traced out in stone and glass
As intricate but clear as a new idea
And then a briny air comes up the river
She crossed a square of sunlit floor
Her figure an apparition
She'd heard the names you dropped before
But still she stopped to listen
And there she sits sorting index cards
Still as slim as she was that afternoon ...
And then her eyes meet yours, and a puzzled smile ...
The end doesn't come like the final rhyme
But amid one more bid to ease
Some discomfort or pain
And till then there is only a slow decline
But you may still look out to find
A strange light in the rain ...