I open the box of my favorite postcards
and turn them over looking for de Chirico
because I remember seeing you standing
facing a wall no wider than a column where
to your left was a hall going straight back
into darkness, the floor a ramp sloping down
to where you stood alone and where the room
opened out on your right to an auditorium
full of people who had just heard you read
and were now listening to the other poet.
I was looking for the de Chirico because of
the places, the empty places. The word
“boulevard” came to mind. Standing on the side
of the fountains in Paris where the water
blew onto me when I was fifteen. It was night.
It was dark then too and I was alone.
Why didn’t you find me? Why didn’t
somebody find me all those years? The form
of love was purity. An art. An architecture.
Maybe a train. Maybe the shadow of a statue
and the statue with its front turned away
from me. Maybe one young girl playing alone,
hearing even small sounds ring off cobblestones
and the stone walls. I turn the cards looking
for the one and come to Giacometti’s eyes
full of caring and something remote.
His eyes are loving and empty, but not with
nothingness, not for the usual reasons, but because
he is working. The Rothko Chapel empty. A cheap
statue of Sappho in the modern city of Mytilene
and ancient sunlight. David Park’s four men
with smudges for mouths, backed by water,
each held still by the impossibility of what
art can accomplish. A broken river god,
only the body. A girl playing with her rabbit in bed.
The postcard of a summer lightning storm over Iowa.