stretch

Roy Herndon Smith

Last night, from the ferry, I saw a long stretch
of soft mauve reflecting the sharp yellow lights
of Brooklyn. It was a wisp until I saw
the Verrazano, the tops of its towers
and cables were not there; the realization
of a vast expanse of cloud, pressing unseen,

except for the mauve edge, unsettling unseen,
familiar absence turned into eerie stretch
of pressing presence—thick dark realization
overwhelming thin strands of sentient lights,
knowing-known edges of earth and sky, towers
of sense cut off by the unthought I who saw

and the thought, but unseen, depths of what I saw.
The oppositions—thought, unthought, seen, unseen—
mislead—the seen, the thought, and the towers
and the sharp and soft edges of color, stretch,
in stretching, sketch the contours of unseen lights,
unthought realities—the realization,

mauve and yellow stretching—the realization,
a dissolving of towers, of what I saw
and thought, into boundless known-as-unknown lights
and thoughts, into depths and dark seen-as-unseen
sources of sense and nonsense, the endless stretch
of presence into absence, reaching towers’

known unseen, unthought beginnings, ends—towers
rooting and crowning in the realization
of emptiness. And, forgive me for the stretch,
mixed metaphorical messiness, I saw
you and me as soft sharp edges of unseen
unthought grounds and skies, towers of unseen lights,

of present tense meetings of known unknown lights,
vast dark movements of mourning and love, towers
of touching unseen unthought lips to unseen
unthought lips, kiss a soft sharp realization
of particular infinitudes; I saw
you, that first hour, I saw you in a soft stretch

of eyes reflecting lights, the realization
of towers dissolving in nothing, I saw
you still, free in a vast unseen, unthought stretch.