Every Lover Dies Alone by Briar Ripley Page

Through the night of hollow gourds

with candles painting yellow on their emptiness

some of us sit alone in our apartments

and watch the luminous clock numbers progress.

This year we’ve found our limit in distress.

This year we’ve given up on all rewards. 

Beyond the clouds the moon looks light and part-mist;

the clouds are fat and black and softly heaving. 

The street lies desolate as any rock in space.

There’s nowhere to go. No escape from grieving 

and waiting and worry. What use in believing 

an angel will arrive? What use in future tense?

We shall see each other face to face

when the last days come. Was that, too, a lie?

I don’t see any faces here. I don’t even see my own.

The shadows crawl in as the hours creep by.

A low leaf-rustle. An owl’s piercing cry. 

A creak on the stair and a moan I can’t trace,

arms wrapping arms in a comfortless embrace.