Eleventh Hour - Poem by David Lehman
The bloom was off the economic recovery.
"I just want to know one thing," she said.
What was that one thing? He'll never know,
Because at just that moment he heard the sound
Of broken glass in the bathroom, and when he got there,
It was dark. His hand went to the wall
But the switch wasn't where it was supposed to be
Which felt like déjà vu. And then she was gone.
And now he knew how it felt to stand
On the local platform as the express whizzes by
With people chatting in a dialect
Of English he couldn't understand, because his English
Was current as of 1968 and no one speaks that way except
In certain books. So the hours spent in vain
Were minutes blown up into comic-book balloons full
Of Keats's odes. "Goodbye, kid." Tears streamed down
The boy's face. It was a great feeling,
Like the feeling you get when you throw things away
After a funeral: clean and empty in the morning dark.
There was no time for locker-room oratory.
They knew they were facing a do-or-die situation,
With their backs to the wall, and no tomorrow.
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