Before those hours were like the last notes
of music played from a stage for a woman
whose seat was empty, who never came
as she promised, I was like the musician,
going all that way through the streets
for the image of a woman standing at night
in a fur-trimmed coat at the iron railings
of a bridge, with nothing to give
when I reached her but the music I'd play
about what I'd seen and what I'd heard
coming to find her. I'd play:
In the night I broke
that city I crossed,
but in a dream
I brought it back to life.
Before I was like the musician playing music
for a woman who wasn't there to hear,
those hours were like the searching
of a bridge where the fur-trimmed shadows
of a woman's face could be seen in the light
arcing upward on cables into the sky.
How could I have known what was played
for her in my absence? I passed open windows
in the streets and there was music coming out.
How could I have known whose influence
she came under? I'd play:
How do I know
what was going on
all around me
in that city I crossed?
Keith Newton's chapbook Sent Forth to Die in a Happy City was published this winter by Cannibal Books, and his poems are forthcoming in Sink Review and Konundrum Engine, among other journals. He edits the online magazine Harp & Altar.