only the crossing counts

only the crossing counts

only the crossing counts

Arts has moved! You can find new stories here.
A weekly poem, read by the author.
Dec. 22 1999 3:30 AM

only the crossing counts

It's not how we leave one's life. How go off
the air. You never know do you. You think you're ready
for anything; then it happens, and you're not. You're really
not. The genesis of an ending, nothing
but a feeling, a slow movement, the dusting
of furniture with a remnant of the revenant's shirt.
Seeing the candles sink in their sockets; we turn
away, yet the music never quits. The fire kisses our face.
O phthsis, o lotharian dead eye, no longer
will you gaze on the baize of the billiard table. No more
shooting butter dishes out of the sky. Scattering light.
Between snatches of poetry and penitence you left
the brumal wood of men and women. Snow drove
the butterflies home. You must know
how it goes, known all along what to expect,
sooner or later … the faded cadence of anonymity.
Frankly, my dear, frankly, my dear, frankly

C.D. Wright's most recent title is Deepstep Come Shining (1998). She recently completed "A Reader's Map of Rhode Island" and has undertaken a new project on Louisiana prisoners with photographer Deborah Luster.