Three Poems

Charles Simic

Description of a Lost Thing

It never had a name,
Nor do I remember how I found it.
I carried it in my pocket
Like a lost button
Except it wasn’t a button.

Vampire movies,
All-night cafeterias,
Dark bar-rooms
And pool-halls,
On rain-slicked streets.

It led a quiet, unremarkable existence
Like a shadow in a dream,
An angel on a pin,
And then I lost it.
The years passed with their row

Of nameless stations,
Till somebody told me this is the one.
And fool that I was,
I got off on an empty platform
With no town in sight.

Used Book Store

Lovers hold hands in never-opened novels.
The page with a recipe for cucumber soup is missing.
A dead man writes of his happy childhood on a farm,
Of riding in a balloon over Lake Erie.

A sudden draught shuts his book in my hand,
While a philosopher asks how is it possible
To maintain the theologically orthodox doctrine
Of eternal punishment of the damned?

Let’s see. There may be sand among the pages
Of a travel guide to Egypt or even a dead flea
That once bit the ass of the mysterious Abigail
Who scribbled her name teasingly with an eye pencil.

June Evening

The way that bat brushed my hair,
It may have had a message for me.
Was it one of my love’s sighs
At the poverty of words to convey
The vast miscellany of marvels
That come to us unannounced each day?

Like that grey cat I saw last night
Nibbling on a roasted chicken
In a window of a delicatessen.
No shit, said the fellow who works there,
Wiping his hands on a soiled rag
As he stepped out to see for himself,

While I continued worrying about the bat,
The way it made me jump
And nearly fall on my knees,
As it flew off, by the looks of it fanning itself
With one of her love notes
It forgot or didn’t care to deliver.