After Death Comes Nothing Hoped for Nor Imagined​​​​​​​

A rusted swing set, graffiti-etched in
    an evening mist, incorporates both ruin    
& the subliminal expectation of pleasure. 
    This could be a scene from the fifties,
a black & white film noir, the sky filled
    with ash & a lackadaisical despair. 
The soundtrack? Sinatra singing “Only
    the Lonely,” the romantic, dire piano
disturbing every last vestige of serenity,
    so that even a pitiful, noisy swing set
in a city park seems sinister.  To suggest
    the threadbare trees in the distance
are proof of anything other than the time
    of year is to pretend everything is
a symbol.  Such arrogance requires
    an utter lack of imagination,
& a recognition that beauty isn’t
    always a blessing, any more than Frank’s
voice tears Riddle’s orchestra to shreds. 
    Balance is necessary for meaning. 
After death, narrative loses much of
    its luster & memory’s a sin none seek
absolution for, the ashen sky denying
    any other outcome.  One that’s been
hoped for, say.  A woman in a formal
    evening gown—elegant, black
with just a hint of the vaguest shimmer,
    a pill box hat, black, that lets loose
a black veil to dim all but the classical
    cut of her cheeks—dances in arcs
graceful & deft with Sinatra singing
    counterpoint. His voice accosts the sky
with all its muted trumpets & its one
    timid flute. Loss is one word for it. 
The dress is backless. Hands press
    the sacred flesh of the small of her back,
pushing her higher into the scented night
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