September 17, 2004

See the sky about to rain

City Afternoon
-- by John Ashbery

A veil of haze protects this
Long-ago afternoon forgotton by everybody
In this photograph, most of them now
Sucked screaming through old age and death

If one could seize America
Or at least a fine forgetfulness
That seeps into our outline
Defining our volumes with a stain
That is fleeting too

But commemorates
Because it does define, after all:
Gray garlands, that threesome
Waiting for the light to change,
Air lifting the hair of one
Upside down in the reflecting pool.

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