Cheers At Five: Mark Strand & William Bailey
THOSE LAST MOMENTS
We were in another country and talked of the war,
Which we thought would never end, and of our leaders
Who did nothing, when we felt the slow encroachment
Of the hour, and imagined people up and down the coast
Becoming drowsy and drifting off towards sleep, then the wind
Picked-up and rain pelted the slate roof and seaward
Windows, and flattened the wild grass and thistles.
Suddenly, the rain stopped, and for a while the only sound
Was the muffled thrust of waves against the shore.
I sat at the table, finishing my drink, and turned
And saw you standing in front of the hallway mirror
As if searching for someone no longer there. You lowered
One shoulder, then the other, letting the blue and violet
Cotton dress slip to the floor. I watched as the shadow
Of night rounded the pale folds of your flesh. And what
Remained of the day—a thin strip of light in the west—
Slid quietly into the sea, and the world of which
We had spoken, dangerous still, seemed out of reach.