Where were you?


Where were you when the night caught fire,

and the stars shredded silver filings on the blazing wind?

Why did my hand catch at empty air

and loose feathers, museum-dull,

instead of the comet’s tail?

I think I saw you sauntering by the river,

whistling low a tune we used to share,

your hands full of moonbeams

to offer to someone else.

Where did it go, the cool, green love,

Slip-sliding through sun-slanting beams of summer?

Did it follow the last of the geese fleeing the ice floes

Or sink, a trunk of treasure trove, beneath cold waves?

Beyond the lament, the final hissing sparks,

of falling fireworks,

I thought I heard a blackbird sing,

Or perhaps it was the fading strings

of a romantic film,

the flickering screen I cannot see

through this veil of tears.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

22 thoughts on “Where were you?”

  1. The bird references caught me, the analogy of beauty and wildness and flying away from you. I especially loved the image of grasping for your love and catching only empty air and loose feathers.

  2. Where was I when the night caught fire?
    Alone as always I am alone,
    Waiting for a wave of compassion or science,
    Of fiction or poetry, Of well baked pies,
    Where was I when the night caught fire?
    Trembling on the floor, angry and hurt,
    Disbelieving that yet again you left me
    Without looking back. So I stood on the porch,
    Watching the blaze from dead stars as their
    Ashes reigned down and buried those
    Without umbrellas to protect them.
    I waited that night for someone to notice,
    For parent, child, friend, but the silence burned
    Through any preconception I had of friendship.
    Where was I when the night caught fire?
    Writing oceans of water to extinguish the flames.

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