Memorial Day

by Jay Hopler | June 9, 2011

Behind the banyan trees, the mansions. Behind the mansions, the
            lagoon—.
In the lagoon, a mooring of sailboats.

Wind in the rigging.
Hull-slap and groan. 

                                                                Where is everybody?

The sound of people playing in their pools—well ..., there
Isn’t any; the streets 

Are empty—, the moon, like a moon
Jelly, beating its slow float in the not- 

Quite-dark. In the gardens of the Moorings Country Club,
The lights have come on, rice paper lanterns on which are 

Printed cherry blossoms. O—this un-
Starred sky. And the smell of the star 

Jasmine, the fleshy, resplendent scent
Of the gardenia. Is this where I say, I

Miss you? Where I say, Father, isn’t there anything
In this evening’s long cortege of bloom, as beautiful 

                                                                      As it used to be?

Like the sound of a ghost ship drifting
Through fog—like a sweet-despicable 

Imitation of mourning—a piteousness of doves is cooing in the
             banyan trees. 

This poem originally ran in the June 30, 2011, issue of the magazine.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//article/poetry/magazine/89652/jay-hopler-poem