When was it?

I think perhaps at a dance,

On varnished boards with powdered wax.

Dim colored lights —

Down there a devil’s head —

I think it was then she said to someone

‘I love you.’

Perhaps she said it to herself —

(She was seventeen.)


She walked on stars

And sang sometimes —

Wooden-horse rings,

Inconsequential notes,

And things of little sense.


Perhaps I have walked the plank too often.

Perhaps I have been pushed into the water too often.

It may be that I have drowned.


We sit and talk —

We cannot even think the old way.

She — and I — all of us have changed.

We think we are masters of our souls.


The smoke of a cigarette rises slowly

And casts a shadow on her face.

She is like a queen.

Unmoved —

A stranger.


And what has changed us?

Not time —

For time is but a vehicle for other things.

Not knowledge —

We know nothing more now.


What is it?

Perhaps I have been thinking —

Dreaming —

While she has become a queen.


© Russ Lewis February 13, 1950