The guests are floating in the lobby,
walking but also gliding to the front desk
then away, checking in, checking out,
muscular souls adorned in cotton,
wool, and rayon, chewing the future
inside their heads, slicing the air
with ironed pleats, avoiding the camera
at every turn so as, so as to get it right
this time, which is the first time.
First cut, best cut the director shouts
since this is also a silent film for the deaf
and therefore everyone. His aim
is to get the cast to see what they’ve
been missing, to disregard the very sounds
that they don’t hear to begin with,
but would notice immediately
if they were gone. See how they glide
on the ether above the floor.
The insouciance, Lord. The insouciance!
They are all here in the magic of the set,
every soul in the guise of a guest,
going about her business, a rendezvous here,
an assignation there, the solitary sipping
at the bar. Someone striking appears
at the door. The rain outside beats down
on the streets with terrible force until all
you can hear is the roar of the sky as it passes
above, and then below, on its narrow tracks.
Chard deNiord is the author of three books of poetry, Night Mowing (The University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), Sharp Golden Thorn (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003), and Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990). He is an associate professor of English at Providence College and directs the low residency MFA program in poetry at New England College. He lives in Putney, Vermont. (2/2007)