All things fall away: store fronts on the west,
ANGEL’S DELICATESSEN, windows boarded
and laced in day-glow, BLUE KNIGHT AUTO REPAIR
to the north with its verandah of rusted mufflers
and hubcaps of extinct Studebakers.
The diminishing neighborhood sprawls
under dusty folds of sycamore and fading elm,
the high birdhouse out back starling-haunted.
Inside the cottage a bay window translates
the language of sunlight, flaring like baroque
trumpets on the red carpet, shadow-dappled
as the house turns slowly beneath the drift
of tree branch and sun. We have come
to shroud the couch in plastic, spread sheets
over the fat reading chair and the piano’s
mahogany gloom, the impossible etude’s
blur of black notes. Among a turmoil
of ungraded papers lies the Loeb Classics Aeneid
open to the last lesson. Later in the bedroom
we imagine a flourish of light, her husband
loosening the sash of her white silk robe,
his beard brushing the back of her neck.
Amores, the art of love, of words lifting
like vapors on a cold day, the dense vowels
of Ovid and Virgil almost vanished, almost
risen to music. We lock the heavy door
and walk away from the silence, the lone
hexameters of Dido pulsing in an empty house.