Be Always Late

by Cecilia Woloch
Woloch. Carpathia. Be Always Late
—after Baudelaire One should always be late. One should always be running/half-running in high-heeled boots through the streets with the church bells ringing the hour one should have already arrived. And be still en route, still a bridge away, still a sliver of silvery river to go. One should have clouds at one's shoulders like breath, panting clouds and a gasp of wind at the nape of the neck to keep one cool. The heart should be clicking against the ribs: I'm late, I'm late, I'm late. One should be turning just then past the church, past evening beginning in every cafe, past the poor little park with its late little flowers, disheveled little flames. Because somewhere someone waits. Because somewhere one has already arrived and will never rush past this again. One's self with one's coat like a black sky flung; one's own shadow flaring out behind. And the sound of those bells in one's hair, in one's bones. Now and ever. Not never: late.