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D. Nurkse

Flatlands

1
In that hotel, the mirror was naked.
I had never seen such a wavering cloud.
I ran my fingers along the glass.
It burned me slightly.

I didn’t know who you are.
Just how to suffer, how to pass time
(by counting), and a few jokes
whose appeal was a forgotten punch line.

I poured you a cup of black wine.
It trembled. We could hear the trucks
roaring north and south—we were alone
in a huge city. August inched
sideways through the blinds.

2
I didn’t know twilight would be naked.
The bells would be naked. Not knowing
would be naked.

3
We are told, only the moment is real,
all that exists exists in the moment,
but who knew how to get there?
We tried door after door
along those elm-lined streets
and heard just chimes
in triple-locked apartments.

Then we found it. It is here.
Though we are fading
all our actions last forever,
even fumbling at a button—

not in these words
but in the night sky hidden
at the center of the last period.