What nobody ever saw:
It is midnight, past midnight,
The ﬁgure just visible
In the moonless, dew-laden dark
Where river empties into
River, and the water makes
No sound, or a sound like time,
Which stands still now on the bank.
He, too, stands still on the bank,
Late-summer night wind whipping
The white linen of his coat-
For, yes, he always did have
A sense of style in such things.
Behind him, the white car shines
Under what starlight there is.
He stares at what stars there are
And remembers—or does he?-
The ﬂowered dress he bought you
And raised above your waist here
So you could straddle his lap.
Does he think of the river
Lit at Louisville, where some-
Thing he can hardly admit
To himself happened?—happened
To you, though you both agreed
It was the best thing to do. . . .
Does he speak aloud now to
No one? Does he say a name?
Does he say your name before
He walks into the river?
Or does he just walk away?
You must believe both stories
Till the world makes up its mind.
Either way, the white car shines
As dawn ﬁghts the water, and
-—All this behind your closed eyes——
That wide water seems to hold
The dead in their element.
- Joe Bolton, from "The Last Nostalgia"