What isn't there

                                    —September 2001

The painter in overalls, he’s somewhere uptown,
his blue-spattered hands tensed on a grating.
Imagine him climbing the latticed scaffolding.

No children at the crossing for the library,
whose two dark lions drowse, even now,
imperturbable. No low light along an alleyway,

the pawn shops, moments laced with faces
in windows, in cars. The sidewalk murmurs
under our feet, worries and flutters at curbs,

until, unthought, it leaves us empty, down and
rooted, within ourselves. Insistent still: what was
but isn’t there, what fills this space with space.