Closing Hours Closing Hours – Poem by: Ann Lauterbach

Painting by Heather Whitley Gibson

Closing Hours Closing Hours

This trace, if it exists, is alms for delusion.
An arch uncurls from the floor
scented with the scent of a tapestry, housed here.
I recall the hour but not its passage
unless dream captures and ties it to sleep:
a fat bellhop smiles, shows me to the tower
where I can watch the departure.
But some days settle so that nothing
crosses the horizon; stare as I will, no star
needles the air. Now I am left
on the outskirts of a forest hemmed in by wheat
where plump trees hide the image, its symmetry
shot up and blown across the ground like feathers.
The unicorn, the grail, blue and red wings
of kneeling musicians, these are embroidered
elsewhere. Perseverance was crowned.
Hope and Pity prayed for success.
How fast is this camera? Can it record a trace?
There was a voyage. Four mounted horses
strain against centuries.
To each is allotted: dust kicked up, smoke, plumage.
Ann Lauterbach, “Closing Hours” from Before Recollection. Copyright © 1987 by Princeton University Press. Reprinted with the permission of the publishers.
  • Alex Katz (

5 comments on “Closing Hours Closing Hours – Poem by: Ann Lauterbach

  1. Hello.. This poem speaks clearly to me.. crafted well for this poet.. with old dreams of gold.. dreamed in this society.. :-).. Peace Tony


  2. granbee says:

    How powerfully this poem sweeps across the centuries and points to that time of the Four Horsemen!


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