Lynne Potts

Bice Blue and the Continuous Present

Past perfect

mode of leaving well enough alone,

as in he had been here but left

flat hand of what can’t be undone —

not by revision, not by adjustment

(door knob screwed tight,

bracket for the cellar step at last)

Simple past

thinly strung to the present

as in he was here but left:

air-borne leaves in updrafts,

dust caught in scratches on old windows:

(key in the Honda lock,

engine echo in the driveway)

Continuous present

promising the world

as in he is coming any minute now:

bice-blue sky with lissome swills

morphing to elephants, rabbits, squirrels:

(everyone romping the lawn,

some with soccer balls)

Continuous future,

as in he will be coming: ominous

pause, reluctance in the form

of excuses scribbled on envelopes

slipped under the hallway door

(me still looking

for your return.)

First published in The Paris Review