17 November 2011

Marianne Boruch

[from Marianne Boruch's Grace, Fallen From, Wesleyan, 2011]

A Moment

Maybe it's common, this sort
of first meeting. But once, before a guest house
in Germany, the friend
of a friend to come by, and dinner –
that's it, we'll go to dinner, have the famous
spargel, that rare white asparagus, only
in May, our evening pre-arranged by phone,
by email. I need to say again we
hadn't met. Outside I stood
at the door, it being spring, every tree
gloriously poised. And a stranger,
another woman, she too waiting
but near the curb, looking
this way and that, attentive to traffic, hours
from dusk because we were north,
near the sea. And tall, she was towering,
older than I was, hugely
made-up, such meticulous work
behind that elegant finish. Then the friend
of my friend – could that be? –his
parking, his pulling himself
out of that tiny car.
Please understand. I'm usually
right there rushing in, because the world
requires that, loves the quickening
of that. But I was
or I wasn't. Or I was small
but there is smaller. To my left, a door.
Some tree flowering at my right.
I watched as he
to that woman said my name
so charmingly, a question, tilting
his head, are you . . . ? sorry to disturb,
are you . . . ? And in that pause –
her vague focusing on him, her loose
finding him now – I leaned forward,
simply curious: what
would she say? smile? yes? tell him yes?
So the thread breaks. So water in a glass
clouds and maybe clears.
So I waited, giving up
everything, to anyone,
just like that.

Marianne Boruch