The Way It Sometimes IsBy Henry Taylor
At times it is like watching a face you have just met,
trying to decide who it reminds you of—
no one, surely, whom you ever hated or loved,
but yes, somebody, somebody. You watch the face
as it turns and nods, showing you, at certain angles,
a curve of the lips or a lift of the eyebrow
that is exactly right, and still the lost face
eludes you. Now this face is talking, and you hear
a sound in the voice, the accent on certain words—
yes! a phrase . . . you barely recall sitting outside,
by a pool or a campfire, remarking
a peculiar, recurring expression. Two syllables,
wasn’t it? Doorknob? Bathroom? Shawcross? What the hell
kind of word is shawcross? A name; not the right one.
A couple of syllables that could possibly be
a little like something you may once have heard.
So the talk drifts, and you drift, sneaking glances,
pounding your brain. Days later a face occurs to you,
and yes, there is a resemblance. That odd word, though,
or phrase, is gone. It must have been somebody else.
Yes, it’s like that, at times; something is, maybe;
and there are days when you can almost say what it is.
Henry Taylor, “The Way It Sometimes Is” from The Flying Change. Copyright © 1985 by Henry Taylor. Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press.
Source: The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry (University of Arkansas Press, 2000)