Metaphor: For Nancy

Anne Raeff

She told me my characters were like clothes hanging on a line

Disconnected.

They're beautiful clothes, though, she said

That just made it worse.

It wasn't the best metaphor,

She would be the first to admit it.

We all can find better metaphors,

But it was the truth,

and Nancy was always about the truth.

 

Right until the end, she was telling the truth

Propped up on pillows, eyes big with morphine,

She didn't even use metaphors then, just

Came right out and said it. No, that doesn't work

That's really what we all want to hear even though

We don't.

 

I'm ready, she wrote to us, just those simple words

And we knew it was the truth, and it hit us hard

Because we didn't want it, the truth, but there it was

coming from her lips,

The truth, not slant at all, but just

The truth.

 

(p. 1, The Hong Kong Review, Vol. III, No. 2)