Advice from the Lights

Stephen Burt

The same thing said at different times

sounds differently:

as come-on, as nonsense, as passive-aggressive request
for help unlikely to be turned away,

as simple or simple-minded as the hope
to prove that you can be of use.

When we went out for a walk, a good pedestrian
family, flimsy clouds
had stolen the sun,

and when it came out for the swim
team’s summer practice at the neighborhood
pool, lighting up the new tiles, it was not the same

It looked a touch greener, as well as farther off.
It seemed to be trying to say
that it had never changed,
having done so, and then
just used itself up for the day.