(For Jeremy Ben)
What loss was there
what vacancies accumulate
just silence and the summer rain
that drops through space untenanted
by watchful mothers' anxious pose
a waiting father's harbor-hands
these arms that running child enclose
can tell, just they explain.
Drums should have rolled out our taking
massed horns blared it,
a city risen as the sky split
and supernal voices cried
This may not be.
this obscene tranquillity
of a street swept of dirt and alarm
its sleepers calmly blanketed
its long face shuttered, complacent
as pigeons under the linden trees
as we crunched past the corner
for a last look back.
Version originally published in Hudson River Anthology (Spring 1976) (first of a 5-poem cycle)