I was myself and the window as one—
the impalpable and all that I could see:
a parking lot at night, moth-white lamplight
on mulched medians of seaside primrose
and cordgrass stabbed by Spanish bayonets,
on a red SUV in which a man and a woman
chased cocaine with curt draughts of vodka,
smoothed their reflections in the rearview mirror,
then met a crowd swelling the lot's south end—
a late summer beach party crossing the avenue
through traffic gaps to the park, laughing chatter
scored by a few car stereos' augmented thumping
and voices proclaiming in wordy pizzicato.
I was the moon waning in a sickle earth-shadow,
glinting in each blue-red-silver beer can spilled out
a toppled cardboard box, popped-open mouths
absorbing, like the asphalt, whole horizons.
Quarter meters, obliging chaperones, inactive then,
the air marched with an odor of thunderstorms
from offshore or west over swamps of sawgrass,
clouds like conspiring mangroves, city-lit amethyst,
shuffling almost meaningfully overhead and past.
All night, thorny as an artichoke outside and in,
I was the room and its white walls bent blue
by the computer running in its sleep, humming
dimly a light that cast everything electrically:
The Lazy Boy upholstered in sage corduroy ridges,
a plain floor lamp, its beige shade, bookshelves;
across the room, the closet's washboard door
and a spruce guitar, recently restrung, glossing
nothing it knew to play, nothing to fret about;
the rosewood desk, its floating top occupied
by keyboard, mouse, monitor, and a phone
wired to another city through strict protocols
adept at disassembling and encrypting data.
Many cords snaked round to a surge protector,
a tangle Tiresias would've stopped to sneer at,
and the walnut chair from Siler City, NC—
half-circle arms bowed to a black leather seat
mounted on tapered legs—loaded emptiness
like a trebuchet in a museum, or a snow day.
For hours, in the framed caricature of Flaubert,
I was the moon in that room too, gleaming,
long after the party ended, the stereos quieted.
I kept the traffic sounds and heat out all night
and conditioned air and quiet in. I was
the seen, the heard, inside and out, and not—
because I divided things. I was the weather
until the sun broke the sea, the park, the lot,
its light honeying through me then like a lion
as I dared and understood how, briefly anyway,
because however I tried I could not be that light.
It was a Wednesday, the twelfth of August, 2009.