And a stray face spins me back
to the black-haired girl
I saw long ago and stood helpless
watching her pass, bareheaded in the
the easy way she found, wet but not
against it, hair damp and shining on her
her shoulders. I wanted to give something
for the dark rain of that hair,
the quiet of her face, not angry or
alert to each step, the crowded sidewalk
. . .
But what? Words? Dark rain. Wet face.
She never saw me. Weve
tramped on down
our own dark tunnels now for years. What
at my gates would know her face, would
let her in
without the password, find her a bed, say
sleep, Ill be outside?
I know. It shouldnt matter
whos lovely in the rain and who
But its not beauty or nostalgia or
thats got me, I dont know
what it is,
justice maybe, prisons and churches, the
at the center of the sun. Most days I
Im almost free, I dont miss a
I dont hit squirrels with my bike.
it doesnt rain, and nobody walks
in black hair, a light jacket and a glaze
of shining water, rain beading and
all over like the hand of someone very
and very gentle, very far away.
Rhapsody with Dark
Whats moving on the hills could be
mist or rain
the first long notes of the apocalypse
or just another load of thick
Whats coming wont be hurried
or put off.
Yes the stars are there,
blazing, and all
the dark matter too. A woman with son and
settles in beneath a bridge,
with a dirty hand. A man pours beer and
of the tank he drove into the
desert. Two million bucks.
So much easier to blow things up than get
a marriage, a country, a small
town forty miles
from the nearest beer. It isnt just
thats loose, gliding from
scenery to disaster,
floating through the gorgeous, deadly
Its not just me. Say what
you will about the dark
it wont leave you contented, or
alone. It saunters
at its own pace down the long
bluff, up the streets
of the finest little town in Arkansas.
to remember where the keys are,
which road Ill take
out of town. Remembering a voice:
Im tired, yes.
The boys are fine. Call
Tuesday. Bring yourself home.
Jeff Gundy, Bluffton,
Ohio, teaches at
Bluffton College and writes poems and
Both poems reprinted by
permission of author and publisher, all
rights reserved, from Rhapsody with
Dark Matter (Bottom Dog Press, 2000),
pp. 7, 26.