That Look

David Ungvary

In the morning I saw you in my spoon
When you brushed back your hair and closed your eyes.
Even in the reflection I could see
The pain in the expression—separate
From all the world and the breakfast table.
Stuck in time, when every moment’s seeming
And feeling the same as at the sermon,
When the preacher asked us who was hurting
Or when, through the wall, in the room over,
You heard your boy crying for his father.

The news arrived with yellowing June grass
Begging for rain and a forgiving wind.
You answered the phone with a pen in hand,
And the words you scribbled habitually
Sat on the pad for days, decomposing.
They were all we tasted or smelled for months,
Ink rotting away in the summer heat.

On that day, I was sleeping on the sofa
Dreaming about autumn in a strange way.
Some woman singing songs of setting suns,
Shorter days, rocking on an old porch swing
Creaking like her voice—that of an angel
Right before a fall. And I remember
Her face, gray and weathered, like a mountain
Kissed by the sky with its lips iced over;
How it was all rescinded before her—
Fields afire with blossom flames shot forth
Doused by the shadows of a chilling earth.

Autumn’s come and gone and I’ve seen that look
At church, in mirrors, but not face-to-face—
You won’t let me unless in secret glances;
Yesterday morning, eating
Earlier than normal. I couldn’t sleep.

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