From "Slidings"

Samuel Jay Keyser



Who is the diva who sings Dame Vida?
Her strings are sea birds;

basso ostinato,
the hum of the ocean.

On cloudy quays she sings threnodies
that leave the heart gaping.

When there is no one to sing to,
she is her own song.




Sitting on a wooden porch behind the dunes,
a hot wind blowing curtains, rising from the sea,
I recall a town in Southern France, a young girl,
bare legs, sandals, running for a bus,
who smiled at me.




The architect declares the building.
Facades take on the air of air.
Air’s escapades are baffled.
He cups his hands. They become a cup.
He fingers his lapel. There is a monument.
He closes his eyes. The monument crumbles.
The architect has been schooled in the modern mode.
Everything is subject to change,
column to columbine, frieze to Firenze.
Entire cities float below the surface of his brow.
The sun neither rises nor sets.
It is always the next day and the day after.
Light plays on the walls of his sala. Alas,
the light goes out; the last door shuts
on sable hinges.