the short flicks follow
one another madly, all different
but with the same sweet
European sadness, the odd symbols
that seem to settle everything
but don’t, as when a man
gives up on love and sees
from his window a child’s parade
of barnyard animals.
When the phone rings and ends
a flight of green balloons,
I could be anyone from any century,
a field hand wakened in the barn by geese;
but slowly I am who I think I am,
a man caught napping, clearing
his throat to bring the voice in pitch,
trying to conceal the truth.
A neighbor wants to borrow sugar,
which I take to the backyard fence.
Somehow she knows that if she asked me
quick what day it is I couldn’t say.
Later, as I wash my face, I see
in the mirror what she must have seen,
the perfect imprint of the sofa
cushion on my cheek, a mark
that won’t rub out, emblem of laziness.
Outside the window, someone plays a flute.