By midnight all the street noises were stilled
except for now and then a slamming door,
a gust of muffled laughter, or—in the distance—
the old Sixth Avenue El’s receding roar.
You stood at the window. I had left off playing
Schumann’s Des Abends on the scratched upright
and turned to you now, thinking at last you’d utter
such words as had eluded us all night.
Your gaze gave back my own. Your pensive eyes,
aglint with tears, darkened as though to warn me
that even now our great game might be lost,
and so I rose, not speaking, and stood by you—
and saw then, on your desk in the dim corner,
that opened letter, vengeful as a ghost.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 13 Number 2, on page 44
Copyright © 2018 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com