A. E. STALLINGS
Late at night,
One of us sometimes has said,
Watching a movie in black and white,
Of the vivid figures quick upon the screen,
"Surely by now all of them are dead"
The yapping, wire-haired terrier, of course
And the patient horse
Soaked in an illusion of London rain,
The Scotland Yard inspector at the scene,
The extrasfaces in the crowd, the sailors;
The bungling blackmailers,
The kidnapped girl's parents, reunited again
With their one and only joy, lisping in tones antique
As that style of pouting Cupid's bow
Or those plucked eyebrows, arched to the height of chic.
Ignorant of so many things we know,
How they seem innocent, and yet they too
Possess a knowledge that they cannot give,
The grainy screen a kind of sieve
That holds some things, but lets some things slip through
With the current's rush and swirl.
We wonder briefly only about the girl
How oldseven, twelveit isn't clear
Perhaps she's still alive
Watching this somewhere at eighty-five,
The only one who knows, though we might guess,
What the kidnapper whispers in her ear,
Or the color of her dress.
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