Gary Keenan
Tonight only strangers in the streets, each face close
To the one I know and have not, except when my eyes close.

A moon waxing fat in winter sky, an icy lunar glow
Lately fallen on the city like a family secret just disclosed.

Block after block of vehicles waiting shovels and tows,
The sole noise muffled monosyllables in an airy, pluming gloss.

I fumble with keys in the cold, brush snow from clothes,
Stamp slush from shoes, and press her whispered "Gary" close.


    Gary Keenan
    for A. R. Ammons

Wind thumps the windows this winter night
and floating candles flicker, white roses glow
in a glass vase on a mirror table-

the room more than inhabited
by crenellated books along the walls,
more than defined by statuettes
of female deities and the temple bell

that make the upright piano an altar
and silence the moment's hymn.


Of course, in the sublime world
a single body yields a single thought,
and that planet hovers in a yawn
from lips too beautiful to speak a truth.

In this way imagination incorporates
the occasional flame of a city
or the hands as perfect as death.


Someday that unitary mind will become
apparent in the act of looking
at one another. Meanwhile, there are prayers

in every pause, a choir of commas
sorting the next sanctus
from the last, all this living made plain:-
how violins creased the air

and wine chilled tongues, the languid
blessing of time, the language
sitting through evening.

Even in such darkness, light persists.

Gary Keenan's poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Georgia Review, Southern Poetry Review, Exquisite Corpse and various other literary journals and e-zines. He lives in New York City,where he works for a large publisher and teaches creative writing.

In Posse: Potentially, might be ...