POEM: Late-Night Instructions


Stub out that cigarette
Lean back in that velvet chair
   and think of me.
Perhaps you’ll turn your head
And glimpse the crescent moon
Outside the third-floor window.
Exhale softly,
Start to rise to close to curtains
Then change your mind
Sink back down and turn your head away.
Reach out your hand
   to the bookshelf on your left.
Let your fingers run down the spines.
Pick one.
Turn to the first page, and find some word,
Some phrase or token
A bookmark, ribbon, pressed flower,
And let it consume you.
Smile, and think of something else a while.
Of winter nights looking at the stars
Or the tobacconist on the corner
Magazines or comic books
Childhood autumns.
Then think of me.

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