Sunday, December 10, 2006

Something He Probably Should Have Seen

Early Epstein. As I've often noted, it can be difficult to look over work from a long time ago. And a bit confusing. Is it the poems which we outgrew, superseded in skill and command, or is it merely that we've changed--not necessarily improved--so that what interested or impressed us once does so no longer? This seems to me to hold up better than most of what I was writing then. It appeared in the British magazine Seam.

It was all there and then all gone.
There must have been a time at which
he didn't see the warning signs--
the drop in temperature in rooms
he entered or the shabby food,
sentimental occasions they
let slip by or slept through. When he
himself awoke and found the house
empty, the children gone, the dogs
gone too, their snapped chains on the ground,
the weeds knee high, the weather changed,
one of the cars absconded with,
the battery of the other dead,
he figured he had overlooked
something he probably should have seen.