From the porthole, a few fan-handed rays
staggered across the night’s mezzotint,
as if they concealed a single unpleasant thing.
In medias res—a whole life passed through its middles:

below lay unnatural clumps and hillocks,
deceptive as bas relief, one view the Renaissance
should have prevented. On the horizon, dawn blossomed,
one stroke slashing above another, scarlet bands

laddering to emptiness. The clouds parted,
and below lay the firefly lights of a city
otherwise black, like a rift valley
where some civilization slept undisturbed.

A minute later, the scene discomposed itself.
That night, I stopped thinking of you.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 25 Number 8, on page 43
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