by Mary Jo Bang
You know, don't you, what we're doing here?
The evening laid out like a beach ball gone airless.
We're watching the spectators in the bleachers.
The one in the blue shirt says, "I knew,
even as a child, that my mind was adding color
to the moment."
The one in red says, "In the dream, there was a child
batting a ball back and forth. He was chanting
that awful rhyme about time that eventually ends
with the body making a metronome motion."
By way of demonstration, he moves mechanically
side to side while making a clicking noise.
His friends look away. They all know
how a metronome goes. You and I continue to watch
because we have nothing better to do.
We wait for the inevitable next: we know the crowd
will rise to its feet when prompted and count—
three-one-hundred—as if history were a sound
that could pry apart an ever-widening abyss
with a sea on the bottom. And it will go on like this.
The crowd will quiet when the sea reaches us.