I wrote this poem for inclusion in the collaborative art book entitled Box of Darkness, downloadable here. On New Year’s Eve 2022, with time’s passage so palpable, I share this revised version as a reminder of our mortality.
I glimpsed him briefly
at the end of an alley,
his face illumined in the sudden flash
of a cigarette lighter.
He seemed to be looking my way
before he turned and vanished.
I saw him hanging his head
from the highest gondola of a Ferris wheel,
its neon flickering in the twilight.
He looked directly at me,
smiling and mouthing a message
that was lost in the shrieks of children.
I saw him deep within the smoldering confines
of my bathroom mirror,
his shape flickering, shifting,
his eyes like those of a panther at night,
intent, prowling true to its nature.
I saw his visage flicker
across an infant in her stroller.
Or was it a cloud,
or the shadow of wings
from gulls crying and wheeling overhead?
I do know this.
Someday we will stand before each other:
no distance, no buffers, no distractions.
And in that bright and final light
I will laugh in his face.