for Madison

When we are shadows watching over shadows,
when years have passed, enough to live
two lives, when we have passed
through love and come out speechless
on the other side, I will remember
how we spent a night, walking the streets
            in August, side by side,
following two shadows dressed in long grey coats,
unseasonable clothes they didn’t seem to mind,
walking so easily, with easy stride,
merging for a moment, then isolate,
as they led us to your street, your door,
and up the steps until, inside,
love became articulate: eye, lip, and brow.
When we are shadows watching over shadows,
we will not speak of it but know, and turn
again toward each other tenderly,
            shadow to shadow.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 3 Number 8, on page 43
Copyright © 2017 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com
newcriterion.com/issues/1985/4/two-shadows