The Noir Version
We stand in an unnamed European train station.
The war is over. The soldiers are gone.
Our future is a smoky, light-tinged shade
of film noir. A veil of shadow
covers my face. Only my lips are visible.
And you, who never wore a hat, are sublime
in a soft brown fedora.
We are cloaked in versions of plum and velvet.
Trains come and go, concealing us
in an infinite cloud of steam.
The kiss goodbye lasts forever.
The kiss goodbye is the plot
and its denouement,
the story in a single gesture.
I board a train that never leaves the station.
The kiss holds it there, like a gendarme
recalling his broken heart, the pain of it
Sometimes the quiet of this house alarms me—
the dog asleep at the foot of my bed,
my daughter visiting her father in the city.
I thought I preferred to be alone, and now
here I am, looking up the history of the word family,
because origins suddenly matter.
Just not enough, I suppose—I'm not sure how
this disaster unfolded. It wasn't like the Hindenberg,
I would have appreciated that—
over in a flash, the dead, dead quickly
and for good. It was more like the slow leak
of a hot air balloon. We, the brave
and happy adventurers,
waving from our colorful bucket,
aloft above the lonely and uncoupled.
Then our surprise descent,
a stuttering drift towards the fairground
festooned with streamers and pinwheels,
its multitude of shining faces
tilted upward in expectation.