It was hours and then the end is almost over.
Velvet curtains all in rustle at the borders
of the stage. Our eyes are dry, our knees numb,

our temples dull. Nothing is left to be begun:
No tearing at the breasts of hairdoed birds,
no smooth unscrolling of the Italian words

for love and loss. No garden froth, no castle wall
to knock the sword against, no impossible
extension of the slenderest ankle in its arc.

The lights on stage will dim and so we feel the dark,
feel how the real — real sex, real pain, real meat —
awaits us in the car. We feel the purses at our feet.

Onstage the voices call but we are half-
way back to home by now, numbering the claps,
saying the bravos that we hope are minimum.

We are adding up the babysitter's sum.
We are watching for the last breath of the lover.
We forget to be the ones who don't recover.