Night Can Be An Ache
Night can be an ache.
In sinuses, and knees, the cramping in your leg.
But surely no ache here: not in this phantasm lake
around which on a diamond day your dream had just
begun: you sat in velvet grass and strummed guitar
and sang upon its comfortable shore to an audience
of one: your reflection in the water.
High baritone notes in good order:
“When I first saw your gallery,
I liked the ones of ladies…”
Your head held her long-vanished flight
of soprano, probing piano, too strange
a condition of beauty to think of for long.
Plucking single notes of basic chords on your guitar,
D minor and G major, all were kindergarten Joni Mitchell:
by that point in the song’s alchemy, she’d conjured
harmonies already having intimate relations with the thin
edge of the stratosphere; picking resonances in it like
plucking pizzicati on a violin.
Your reflection on the surface of the lake dispersed
first into sparks, mosaic bits of atmosphere floated
half a second, then shot downward as if instantly become
lead pellets blasted out of a gun, but aimed at the bottom;
the bottom was a destiny. The water was a beryl red:
looked like blood newly bled, but more translucent.
What “you” were you who saw this?
“You” were at the bottom looking at your re-configured
face and head, crimson in the half-lit liquid, shaped into
a yowl. Whatever this thing was, it wasn’t singing now. If this
was you, you were dead. If whatever said these words to you
were you, you weren’t anything you knew. You couldn’t
even say that you’d been here, much less were gone.
Not a thing need be remembered.
So you forgot, and went on.