‘The Dark’

By David G. Rattray
David G. Rattray

On February 17th of that year
(1945, it was a Saturday)
I was wearing my birthday watch and I
ran like hell between the raindrops
unaware that even a secret wish is in a way
a contract. That afternoon
I was sporting a
huge red cap which seen from afar
gave me the appearance
of a ladybug riding an ant
to an all-cartoon matinee.
Upstairs over the theatre was
a beauty parlor, Madeleine’s, where
ladies sat under the driers like popes
perusing Cosmopolitan and McCall’s, my mom
who had not yet become Ma among them.
Checking the time, the show
already on, I stroked
my imitation-leather wristband and
as pride of possession made way
for the joy of being possessed
stepped into the dark.

   This poem is from David G. Rattray’s collection “Opening the Eyelid,” published in 1990. Mr. Rattray, the uncle of David E. Rattray, the editor of The Star, was an important translator of French Surrealist poets. On the 20th anniversary of his death, he was honored over the weekend in Manhattan with readings at the Leo Koenig Gallery and the St. Mark’s Poetry Project.