Some Slippery Afternoon

A silver watch you've worn for years
is suddenly gone, leaving a pale
white stripe blazing on your wrist.
 
A calendar, marked with appointments
you’ve meant to keep, disappears, leaving
a faded spot on the wall where it hung.
 
You search the house, yard, trash cans
for weeks, but never find it.
 
One night the glass in your windows
vanishes, 
leaving you sitting in a gust of wind.
 
You think how a leg is suddenly lost
beneath a subway train, or taxi’s wheel,
some slippery afternoon.
 
The child you've raised for years,
combing each lock, tailoring each smile,
each tear, each valuable thought,
 
suddenly changes to a harlequin,
joins the circus passing in the street,
never to be seen again.
 
One morning you wash your face,
look into the mirror, find the water
has eroded your features, worn them
 
smooth as a rock in a brook.
A blank oval peers back at you,
too mouthless to cry out.

“Some Slippery Afternoon,” from Eggs in the Lake: Poems, by BOA Editions. Copyright © 1977 by Daniela Gioseffi. Permission granted by the author.
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