Kay in Summer

Someone waiting in the lobby of a Hotel Imperial amid

the spaciousness tourists and peeling gold leaf

might see it all as too hesitant for truth

Might think for a moment   about the art in scattering

too solidly carved tables   crowding too many dreams

before dim Victorian sofas

Might remember certain high-backed chairs or a woman

that could lend a touch of veracity to this place

From this might wonder if truth is possible   if always

and everywhere there is the notion   stage

as true of a bed as of a lobby

 

Imagine now Kay   as she steps through glass doors   and

someone who glancing up   sees her suggest everything

is possible   no   is probable in this place

Someone who can tell from the easy music of her walk

how decades and sophistication have slipped from her

without a rustle

How she has stepped into these brighter softer eyes

into this clear joyous laughter   with out memory

Such a man now iron-grey and ramrod may welcome years

hovering about her bare feet   scent of prairies

songs of experience and struggle

May insist only on allegory: glitter and glass slippers

smile on a killer toy

 

From the roof garden   opposite our old old man ungentle

in this summer night gestures furiously   slashes

at his wheelchair   a daughter burdened with wet sheets

hurries to hang them

Then kneels before the old one to rub his hands between

her own until he smiles

I turn away from this worrying its meaning   its small

beauties   tiny hungers and comforts   how like

an electric charge the attentions of One

 

They step together into the leafy romantic air   and

Las Ramblas   Kay jaunty as hell   her summer affairs

the slow burning flame that makes autumn bearable

That perfumes her air as she moves towards the grave

its slow   inexorable stages

Jane flat in her deck chair calls to me... she didn’t

come to Barcelona for love   love is hard   one wants

something softer   only a little pain   a little grace

and limited fallout...

 

On our last evening I search for the world that is resolution

to her story but she dances down stone streets

shimmies in tavernas spins in the dim light

and that spurious lobby

Perhaps more allegory perhaps someone watching closely

will see her catch her lower lip between bruising teeth

on the stroke of midnight

Now high above the city we stand on that terrace

I am saying   Look look where we are   the rotting stone

the ragged haze from a thousand years of intention

the avenue   those trees

Listen   she says   listen to bells carve the hours

“Kay in Summer” was originally published in Conception of Winter copyright © 1995. Reproduced by permission of Goose Lane Editions.