Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Solitary

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Solitary

Article excerpt

In the photo, a scarf and the edge of a white

sweater keep her breast from sight. Face and

tumbled hair candid as any patch of blue

through cloud. Against a blue backdrop, two swallows

are kissing on the wing, belly to white-as-cloudshine

belly. On the window-sill a blackbird, sleek as a

new-polished shoe. Between the offbeat tick of his

two clocks time passes. Outside, a plump bird with

peach-coloured chest feeds grass-seeds to its

squeaking youngster. From the mantelpiece his

own three young ones smile: Rome railway station:

they go their separate ways. Migrant and

scattershot, between nostalgia and anticipation,

they're a hearsay of light and lumpish matter

stumbling in tongues, a happenstance flashing

along the rim of the blackbird's corn-kernel beak

as it snaps fast on a morsel of crust. What he keeps

in mind mostly are moments of meeting and

going away: glimpses of coming together, then turning

away in sleep. Or at stations, airports, a buoyancy

of expectation (her feet seemed hardly to touch

the ground) until the leaning in at last to each other's

faces, hands trying to hold back the hands of

the clock, time spreading itself like salt in the open

wound. …

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