08 November 2012
wonder at what can befall the most ordinary afternoon of early love
Someone has folded a coat under the boy's head, someone else, an Arab
businessman in not very good French,
is explaining to the girl, who seems to have discovered, like this, in the
her lover is epileptic, that something must be done to keep the boy from
swallowing his tongue:
he works a billfold between the rigidly clenched teeth as the kneeling
girl silently looks on,
her expression of just-contained terror transfiguring her, generalizing her
almost to the mythic,
the very image of our wonder at what can befall the most ordinary afternoon
of early love.
The spasms quiet, the boy, his left ear scarlet from rubbing the wool,
comes to, looks up at the girl,
and she, as the rest of us begin to move away, hesitates, then lays her
cheek lightly on his brow.
"Rush Hour" by C.K. Williams, from Collected Poems. © Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.