At the End of Time & Synesthesia

by Peter Lopatin (August 2019)

Silhouette du Peintre,  Léon Spilliaert, 1907


At the End of Time


I. Together


What is it that we can never do together?

We can die at the same time, but not together.


At the edge of a field, alone in December,

I recalled when we were lost in fog together.


How did the flock of geese know to keep to the air,

Away from harm, unless they reasoned together?


If the cause of death is found to be disorder,

Then immortals would be those who stay together.


I think you’ve never known how beautiful you are.

I cannot tell you now: we are not together.


When gravity, like sitting down, is understood,

All forces will be snug, bound like a sheaf of wheat, together.


In the end, when time has fallen out of favor,

Our memories will evaporate, together.



II. Alone


A tall building in a small prairie town is alone.

At the edge of the building’s plaza, checking her watch,

She waits, not knowing if she will be dining alone.


Is it he or the rest of the flock that flies alone?


In anticipation of the coming winter,

One considers whether to vacation alone.


The homogeneity of Grand Central Station

Permits the traveler to practice being alone.


Can you go someplace near, utterly without reason,

And pretend you belong there, without feeling alone?


Among the most disturbing questions: “Will that be all?”

None want to say yes, knowing it is to feel alone.



III. Begin


At the antipodes one wonders whether to begin.

They are antipodes because that is where we begin.


A mouse hesitates, seeing a hawk wheeling above.

The hawk hesitates, wants to dive, but cannot begin. 


An important exception to the general rule:

True enough that change is all, but death does not begin.


He does not hear it though, and so does not begin.


The hostess offers canapés, fine wine and her smile.

What did you see in the afternoon, when the sun died?

Did you see yourself fleeing east, wanting to begin?

Reclining Nude in Front of Mirror, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1909-1910




as if, when I hear you

speak, there were a rolling in my

flesh, as of gentle swells at sea


as if, at your easy touch

            (when you need, let us

            say, to draw my attention

            to some small concern)

a sound issued forth from my

indolent brain, something like

a shimmer of strings in Ravel or



as if, upon my utterance

of your name, a soft amalgam

of incipient light would

stand in for my exhaled breath

and impart to the ambient air

the slightest hue


as if, then, when our touch

goes further, and senses blend,

the undulations of our pair

become a composition with no

name, and in one great coda,

cast new color on the air



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