By the light through which I can still see
the sparkle and blotch of downtown
neons blurring and running together
like oil in its gutters,
light that grabs at the candle wick
batting it back and forth, tetherball
tethered to a wax upright—
even by this light, your face
comes clearly forward, eyes losing focus
up so close and no glass to magnify
lips slickened for landing.

And yet it isn’t you, only your life.
This light belongs to no one,
no place special; there are no attachments
to this light. Sometimes I might say,
If I see this light and smell this
smell again, now, in this place,
I’ll die of nostalgia,
and other times I might say,

Time, though, is confused
by its own translucence, milky
like the rain clouds this late in the day—
here, more here than
elsewheres where your face
unwashed after days of endless light,
leaves me
alone in the candy-colored wrapper,
red mules, yellow band
tying my hair to someone else’s
nineteen-forties, in some other
light that lasts and lingers
all afternoon, until dark.