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Eleventh Hour by David Lehman

The bloom was off the economic recovery.

“I just want to know one thing,” she said.

What was that one thing? He’ll never know,

Because at just that moment he heard the sound

Of broken glass in the bathroom, and when he got there,

It was dark. His hand went to the wall

But the switch wasn’t where it was supposed to be

Which felt like déjà vu. And then she was gone.

And now he knew how it felt to stand

On the local platform as the express whizzes by

With people chatting in a dialect

Of English he couldn’t understand, because his English

Was current as of 1968 and no one speaks that way except

In certain books. So the hours spent in vain

Were minutes blown up into comic-book balloons full

Of Keats’s odes. “Goodbye, kid.” Tears streamed down

The boy’s face. It was a great feeling,

Like the feeling you get when you throw things away

After a funeral: clean and empty in the morning dark.

There was no time for locker-room oratory.

They knew they were facing a do-or-die situation,

With their backs to the wall, and no tomorrow.

….. The End …..

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