After the Fact


I did not want to say goodbye,
So I slipped out while you were surrounded,
Well-wishers tumbling slippery words
Like gumdrops into your palm.

Lamplight blazing in the glasses
Made me sick; so I found my coat and slipped out of the door
Crossed the garden, where oak trees curl their roots
Beneath the soil, and left the gate singing.

Once I thought I heard a step and
Looked back, my heart like a shadow-puppet
Jumping. But only the moon blinked down
A hieroglyph painted on the cavernous sky.

I did not like to say goodbye, so I
Ebbed away, thin edge of a wave slipping
Into dark-with-wetness sand, my eyes
In their sockets dry and smooth as shells