Moments of Disappearing

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
A poem inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper.

Submitted: August 13, 2013

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Submitted: August 13, 2013



It happened that day in the restaurant.

Your friend sat across the square white table,

interrupted only by a red teapot, a blue bowl.

You wore similar hats,

and perhaps from a certain angle,

maybe from behind your friend's head

it appeared as if she were looking in a mirror

and talking to her own reflection.

It was daylight outside.

Blue sky, busy street.

The vertical sign outside was unlit,

its bulbs cold and dead.

Your yellow coat hung on a hook behind you.

At another table

a man talked to a woman––his wife, you thought,

as he tapped out the ashes from his cigarette.

You stared with your dark eyes

from beneath the brim of your hat

and your friend's mouth moved

but her words were like stone

and you were looking slightly over her shoulder.

It was a few minutes later,

you realized you'd heard nothing.


It happened that day in the movie theater.

It was dark and mostly empty,

the audience consisting of a pathetic handful of people.

You can't say why, but you had to leave.

You said you were going to the bathroom,

but later you had a feeling that wasn't the reason.

It was something about what you saw on the screen,

how you knew the dreams and aspirations

of the black-and-white figures up there,

and then you would glance at your husband's face,

turned upward and illuminated in the flickering light,

and you tried to remember something simple about him,

like maybe his favorite color,

and you could think of nothing.

When you came back from the bathroom––

because you did go there, even if it wasn't the reason you left––

you stopped by the stairs

and leaned against the wall.

You heard the murmurs of dialogue

and saw the eerie white light dance across the faces in the audience

but you could not see the screen.

You lifted your gloved hand to your cheek.

The thin fabric separated your fingertips from your skin.


It happened, years ago, on a summer evening,

on a dimly-lit porch.

You and the boy were the only people.

The house was dark, the curtains drawn.

The rest of the world was black and infinite,

out there behind you

as you and he leaned against the railing.

There were noises––

crickets, a dog barking.

Your shirt left your stomach bare,

your skirt was short,

your feet pinched inside tiny blue shoes.

You and the boy talked about things

that made you feel important;

you talked about God

and about being very small.


It happened one night when you couldn’t sleep,

and left your silver room for the empty town.

By day, the streets talked.

By night, they lay abandoned, their stores dark.

You stopped across the street from the only glowing window––

the face of a diner, located on a sharp corner.

Inside, a couple sat drinking coffee.

The man wore a suit and hat.

The woman had red hair, red lips, a red dress.

Another man sat by himself, hunched over,

his face invisible to you.

It was just the three of them,

plus the boy working there, in his white outfit and hat.

They were the only things that were part of the light

in a pitch-black world,

and you could only wonder what they were talking about.


It happened one morning when you woke up early,

and sat on your empty bed in your empty room.

You were in your pink nightgown,

Your bare legs drawn up to your chest,

your arms wrapped around them, hugging them.

The room was blank––white walls, white sheets.

Dark shadows plagued the corners,

But the light was just beginning to chase them away.

You faced the sun as it rose over the city,

as the dawn determinedly lifted its golden head,

spilling fire through the veins of the world below

and kissing the red brick faces of the buildings.


In these moments,

these ripples in time,

you almost cease to exist.

You feel the world breathe through you

like you are as thin as a veil.

You are a prisoner in the universe’s suffocating embrace.

And no one asks where you go

when you disappear.

You can’t say whether it feels pleasant or painful,

just that you become a part of everything

and yet you’ve never felt so alone.

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