NOVEMBER 18, 2019


I didn’t know it then, but this was the last good day.
I was in the glittering city, visiting an old friend.
We walked on a busy street to the 9-11 Memorial,
the gold of late November reflected in the glass
windows, the water’s mirror. Ate dinner
in a crowded restaurant, so close to the next table,
we could have joined their conversation. Traded
bites of pumpkin tortellini, scallops in wine,
shared a crême brulée. Sipped a bit of wine
from each other’s glass. Rode the subway.
Grabbed the last two seats for a sold-out show,
then strolled Times Square, bathed in the neon
glow. We didn’t realize then that these were things
we would not do again. That life would become:
An Emergency Room, An Isolation Ward,
An Abandoned Mall, A Shuttered School.
That this was as good as it would ever get,
and that the rest was silence.

~Barbara Crooker
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