These Questions

By James Richards

I have listened as carefully as I can, outside Honeymoon
Chapel, to all the advice: a bluebird's breath, soft as a 
spider's filament; a plastic shovel and red bucket in the
grass cracking raindrops open to release the click trapped 
inside each one.

I knew it had to go on.
Is that what you knew?
Look for it, under the letters
the way you look under a face
card when playing blackjack.
The green-felt table tops, stools
keeping your feet off the ground,
the click of drinks and click
of plastic chips. "Can we get out
of here," can we get out?
The air is smoke, the eyes numb
from seeing. "Excuse us sir,"
will you excuse us?

The whole city 
yawns in my ear and stays there
all the way from Vegas to
Big COttonwood. Driving asleep
and not asleep, we let the day
show us its colors: straw,
old snow, and tired sky.
"Are we there yet?" Winding up
the drain of the canyon's sink
are we there? Each curve
a kink in my side, a question mark
carving its way up my spine.

At the lodge, the smell of money on my breath, my hands
are discovering how to help you come up the stairs -- your
white dress -- help you through the door, the threshold. Is
that what I'm lifting you for? A voyage into another
dimension? Maybe it is. Maybe I can't take a step because
I don't dare disturb the universe. "Oh come on, that's so
stupid." That's stupid, isn't it?

There was a question I asked myself
all night as I slept beside you. Now,
because I woke up before you,
because the room is white and the window
is white and your face is white -- I remember
what it was. I remember my dear,
what the question was. And I can tell 
by the way your eyes move behind their lids
and the way you breathe with your lips
parted, that you are asking yourself the same thing.