Encounter

Jerry Harp

It was a hotel lobby. It was
his face, dense with lines like carved stone,
emerging from the other faces.
When a chrome luggage rack wheeled by,
he pressed me to his chest.
Years and years ago we stood
together on a stage delivering lines, he
in his dark suit and I in robes,
Gothic architecture painted on the walls.
We heard a rumor of something (I’m sure we heard it)
beautiful and passing away, possessed
of wings and wretched breath.

There was a copse between a parking lot
and a street, five trees and underbrush.
We met there long ago. We thought
to see something there. Nothing
winged or ancient with days. Nothing
we could sing into being. Loveless
and useless, something our own.

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