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STRAND, Mark


The Late Hour

A man walks towards town,

a slack breeze smelling of earth

and the raw green of trees blows at his back.

He drags the weight of his passion as if nothing were over,

as if the woman, now curled in bed beside her lover,

still cared for him.


She is awake and stares at scars of light

trapped in panes of glass.

He stands under her window, calling her name;


he calls all night and it makes no difference.

It will happen again, he will come back wherever she is.

Again he will stand outside and imagine


her eyes opening in the dark

and see her rise to the window and peer down.

Again she will lie awake beside her lover


and hear the voice from somewhere in the dark.

Again the late hour, the moon and stars,

the wounds of night that heal without sound,


again the luminous wind of morning that comes before the sun.

And, finally, without warning or desire,

The lonely and feckless end.


The Prediction

That night the moon drifted over the pond,

turning the water to milk, and under

the boughs of the trees, the blue trees,

a young woman walked, and for an instant

the future came to her:

rain falling on her husband’s grave, rain falling

on the lawns of her children, her own mouth

filling with cold air, strangers moving into her house,

a man in her room writing a poem, the moon drifting into it,

a woman strolling under its trees, thinking of death,

thinking of him thinking of her, and the wind rising

and taking the moon and leaving the paper dark.