No Encore

I'm just an assistant with the Vanishing Act.
My spangled wand points out the disappeared.
It's only a poor thing made of words, and lacks
the illusive power to light the darkling year.
Not prophecy, not elegy, but fact:
the thing that's gone is never coming back.
Late or soon a guttering silence will ring down
a curtain like woven smoke on thickening air.
The audience will strain to see what's there,
the old magician nowhere to be found.
For now, I wear a costume and dance obliquely.
The applause you hear is not for me, its rabid sound
like angry rain—as one by one the known forms cease to be:
childhood, the farm, the river, forested ground;
the tiger and the condor, the whale, the honeybee;
the village, the book, the lantern. Then you. Then me.

Poem copyright ©2017 by Betty Adcock, "No Encore," from Rough Fugue, (Louisiana State University Press, 2017). Poem reprinted by permission of Betty Adcock and the publisher.  
Source: 2018
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