The Dark Crowd

There are people our eyes can’t ride. My grandmother
had an expression for it in Greek: Our eyes fall off them.

Who don’t you see? What do they make plain instead?
Have you thanked them? It’s probably relative. That is,

not a question of beauty or character but rather, where
you’re standing & when & how long. Today I said

hello to someone who didn’t answer. No telling
which of us wasn’t there. Perhaps we all get a turn.

Does light have a memory? Does it get used to us
the longer we’re here? I ask on behalf of the woman

you don’t see in an elevator until she gets out
and the whole car shakes. I’m asking for the boy

who runs into you at the mall, for the look he gives
not just you, but his own feet. I’m asking for all of us

who’ve ever disappeared from a family picture, one
we still feel ourselves holding for.

Brendan Constantine is a poet living and teaching in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in numerous journals, most notably Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, The Los Angeles Review, The Cortland Review, RUNES, and The Underground Guide to Los Angeles. His collection, Letters To Guns, was published by Red Hen Press in 2009.