Long after the laugh track, it seemed
only rational, practical: this new thing.
Not because we were too stupid to know
what was sad, but because, as in the logic
of the canned guffaw, the producers
knew something about us we did not,
or did and did not let the others know,
that we were lonely, that we wanted
to join in the misery, and weeping
just felt right after a long day of wise
cracks and meaningless tasks, now at last
the pretense of something more
intimate, watery, sweet, taken to heart.
And we wept, not simply because we thought it
important, but because the ghost clan
of sighs was ours now, and the small-
boned phonograph of grief a warm thing.
And we could cut loose of embarrassment,
pretending to wipe our eyes because
something was in them; something really was,
and we would never get it out entirely,
never break down enough, never pluck the world
from its cradle, and be ourselves again.