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The Wake Was a Line and We Watched by Mary Jo Bang

I am supposed to be working. But here I am reading poems at one in the morning, listening to Edith Piaf’s La Foule on repeat. Tonight my heart is as big as the Olympia, and a little sparrow is singing about my life.

The Wake Was a Line and We Watched
Mary Jo Bang

While we stood in the window and wept.
Well, not wept but sniveled
A little and wiped our eyes
On a coat sleeve. What

Were we thinking, I wonder now.
It was fall.
It was clear. A boat sat
Throwing a reflection of itself

Onto a body of water.
It sits and sits. As the ornament is
A monument so is the bird in the sky
One with the eyes

That were taking it all in.
An argument for a theory
Of all-in-oneness. All as all. Imagine
The “I” as a camera turned on

To a mirror.
Where the face in the mirror
Isn’t that of the one looking in
But of Jacqueline Onassis

Or someone else famous
Beyond saying.
A full fifteen minutes.
It’s in the nature of looking

At the future while married to the moment.
It’s Disney’s “Mickey
And The Broken Mirror Mishap”
All over again.

The jagged glass reforming
Into a narrative where
The core event keeps clicking into place
As a great, a terrible, shattering.

This thought leads straight
To the darkest thought: I miss home.
Like a child misses home, or
A line drawing of a Quebec Marmot.

That’s what happens.
Meanwhile, the madness.
The brain-gray concourse.
The utter factuality of the few true things.

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