Looking For Each of Us

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.

Linda Gregg, “Looking for Each of Us” from Chosen By the Lion. Copyright © 1994 by Linda Gregg. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.
Source: Chosen by the Lion (Graywolf Press, 1994)
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