Lisa Sewell

Name Withheld

What one felt (first of all) felt real
(the gasping for breath) and unreal (the park's
dim corridor,) likely (what she knew
she knew always) and unjust,
but nothing like script or the speech
of confession: not I was filled with
, but redress churning not a panic
, but burning burning, some physical
lung intestinal acid bite bitten into.

Two (and wasn't I one?) turned into the park
at midnight to cut through, avoid traffic—
not turned into as in became a frog
or ghoul, and yet or because of that turn,
one became a monster of neglect and one
fell into a swoon from which I would not resume.

To cut through was the logical of
agreed to by both, but then one
rode ahead and the other (that initial I, that
subject supposed) was left well enough
adrone in the dark with murder in mind—
the birth of desire in the one, the death
in the other for if yes means no doesn't stop
mean yes, let's go, let go, go ahead.

Alone in the dark with murder in mind
and marauders up ahead, though unseen
and unheard—both knew about, had viewed
the woman, name withheld, caught
behind the tree by the camera's eye,
frantic to cover what the videotape revealed—
one continued instead of turning back
or away (couldn't the woman have stayed
in bed?) from the curved future, dark bend
where the deserter waited in the ardor
of guilt or panic (whose?)

I continued instead of turning
from the arbor of lick, lips whose kiss
would spell out apology but not dispel
the hurt I chose and didn't choose,
though the woman in the park was made
to see what she had been through, forced to be
the woman sobbing on TV stop them,

stop, shying from the lens that held her
fast and the stranger observing
from the piracy of a private living room.

I chose and didn't choose the only link
between us—the one caught,
the other riding—which was the park
or the park, these sentences and a wounding
I cannot name or see. This is not a public
tale. This is privacy in action. You
have never seen such passionate kissing.

We did choose but were chosen.
We did not freeze (it was a humid night in
June) and are forever frozen on trial
and the wrong trail with our blindness
faced toward the camera's eye.
Only the syllables of accident to shield
and conceive us: I tried to hide
from the lens. I couldn't stop.

Contrarious Passions In A Love


© 2003 Electronic Poetry Review