The Hour Until We See You

When we part, even for an hour,

you become the standing on the avenue

baffled one, under neon,

      holding that huge

red book about the capital—;


      what will you be in the next hour,

  —bundled to walk

through creamy coins from streetlamps

on sidewalks to your car, past

     candles reflected in windows, while

mineral sirens fade in the don’t-

return, —driving home past

    pre-spring plum blossom riot

moments of your thought…


              Those trees rush to rust leaves,

each a time-hinge with great energy—

    they can’t bear inexactitude.

News of revolts in the squares—there—

  & here, the envious have gone to cafés

  to speak in order to leave things out—

        Love, literature is in flames,

  it was meant to be specific—;

    you have driven past these rooms

ten thousand times to make your report;

make your report;

 never forget how you felt—

- Brenda Hillman
Olivia Filippi Chair in Poetry at Saint Mary’s and director of the MFA Program.

This poem was first published on by the Academy of American Poets, which awarded her a 2012 Academy of American Poets Fellowship.