a sky unable to rain

Tulips by Robin Robertson

Sifting sand in the Starsign Hotel
on 96th and Madison,
trying not to hear the sirens; the heart’s
fist, desire’s empty hand.
The room awash with its terrible light;
a sky unable to rain. Cradling a glass
of nothing much at all, it’s all
come down to this: the electric fan’s
stop-start –the stalled, half-circle twist
of draft over the bed; the sea spill
of sheets. The head in storm. Look
at what’s beached here on the night-stand:
a flipped photograph and a silk scarf, a set
of keys. These tulips, loosening in a vase.

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