Three Poems

Charles Simic

The Late Game

That sleepwalking waiter
Carrying a tower of plates
Is he coming to our table,
Or is he going to walk right out of the door?
He’s going to walk right out of the door.

A baseball game is being played
Under the lights
In a small field across the road.
It’s gone past midnight
Because the score is tied,
And now someone’s hungry
In the near-empty bleachers,

In the bushes where lovers make out,
Or behind the row of metal sheds
That serve as dressing rooms,
Where young boys smoke reefers
And take long pees in the dark.

The Prom Queen

This neighbourhood seems familiar to me.
It may have been on this very street
I stuffed snow in the back of schoolgirls’ coats,
So that now with the night falling
I may yet run into one of their ghosts.

I remember a large cage with a tiger
Unloaded from a circus truck.
I remember a peacock crossing the avenue
On his way back to the park,
But that was truly in another century.

And then, finally, there you were at last,
Un poco loco with love, I thought,
Carrying a white dress from the cleaners,
The wind about to toss you into my arms
With one of its dirty-minded gusts.

Devil and Eve

We were school chums.
Coatless, frozen stiff
We diddled the hours away
On street corners,
Licking snowflakes
As they slid down our faces.

The bare-legged one
Who came along
Blowing on her fingers
Called herself Eve –
Wouldn’t you know it!
We sat in a stolen car
With me hunched at the wheel
Peering through the windshield
At the police cruiser

While the backseat lovers
Went on doing whatever
They were now doing,
Trying not to titter as they swore
Each other to secrecy
About this and something else.