The Late Hour
by Mark Strand
A man walks toward town,
a slack breeze smelling of earth
and the raw green of trees blows at his back.
He drags the weight of his passion as if nothing were over,
as if the woman, now curled in bed beside her lover,
still cared for him.
She is awake and stares at scars of light
trapped in the panes of glass.
He stands under her window, calling her name;
he calls all night and it makes no difference.
It will happen again, he will come back wherever she is.
Again he will stand outside and imagine
her eyes opening in the dark
and see her rise to the window and peer down.
Again she will lie awake beside her lover
and hear the voice from somewhere in the dark.
Again the late hour, the moon and stars,
the wounds of night that heal without sound,
again the luminous wind of morning that comes before the sun.
And, finally, without warning or desire,
the lonely and the feckless end.