Summer/Fall 1999 • Vol. XXI No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 1999 |

Before the Sky Darkens

Sunsets, incipient storms, the tableaus of melancholy—maybe these are the Saturday night events to take your best girl to. At least then there might be moments of vanishing beauty before the sky darkens, and the expectation of happiness would hardly exist and therefore might be possible. More and more you learn to live with the unacceptable. You sense the ever-hidden God retreating even farther, terrified or embarrassed. You might as well be a clown, big silly clothes, no evidence of desire. That's how you feel, say, on a Tuesday. Then out of the daily wreckage comes an invitation with your name on it. Or more likely, that best girl of yours offers you, once again, a small local kindness. You open your windows to good air blowing in from who knows where, which you gulp and deeply inhale as if you have a death sentence. You have. All your life, it seems, you've been appealing it. Night-sweats and useless stratagem. Reprieves.

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