All day we have watched the street shift
and careen, shed skin, refill, crest and yaw,
corrected our taste for oranges
packed by other hands from other places, bought
tokens of summer and the coming happiness —
we paused at the Korean romances:
A Tale of a Prince,
Over Rainbow,Tree of Heaven. And the corporate type
who went mad for a girl.
No prince arrived with a piece of fax.
You said Plainly, it’s all money and for-
nication, just like everywhere else. We smiled
at the notion of moon bases and hummed a tune
from the movie we figured
we were still living in.
All day the sun kept tangling and stumbling
among bright open windows while the shopgirls cheered on,
and the pavement singers, and those women
fingering black laces in Foreign Lane
and we lived in and out of restaurants, smoking nonstop,
plate after plate of consommé
not thinking or speaking, our nerves
shattered by the urge to depart. All day
we have waited and waited
under heaven’s wide and lovely tree
for princes, advisors,
even some flannel postman to come and say
that the ship’s sailed, the bus
has left, all families look for us.
Have we said too much? Or not enough –
And here we are, the day gone
to its usual brilliant bedtime, the astronauts gone, the rain
now cadencing in our heads. The restaurant must close.
We have learned nothing. You wisely add: Really,
there was nothing to learn.