Five Minutes Late 
(unrhymed villanelle)

You are a minute late for our appointment.
I await you in a cafeteria,
in expectation of a great miracle.

In two minutes the thronged cafeteria
seems empty as after a calamity.
(Crowds flow around me as a quenchless river.)

In three minutes elves chewed off my fingernails.
I dread you may never come, could be you met
Icarus on the way and flew to the sun.
Four minutes are the hands and feet of a ghoul
who invades you as a treasure grave, thus and
so what is left of you if not a raped nymph?
Evening towers climb from mirage to mirage.
With each turn of the revolving door New York
returns to its unborn stage, to virgin wilds.
In five minutes I have a date with longing.
You never lived or died my love, still you roll
me under every wheel of my queened city,
still I am stoned by the mobbed streets of New York.

(from: Menke Katz, Land of Manna, Windfall Press: Chicago 1965, p. 15)

Leave a Reply