The Unrecorded Hour

Mark Evan Chimsky

I.

I want to know the unrecorded 

trivialities, who you were 

in the spaces between everything 

you left behind,

the small moments when 

you were not great or lost 

in thought, but when you cut 

the nib of the dulling quill 

or washed your stockings 

or gazed at a face with desire 

that you were too tired to describe.  

I want the moments of you 

that were private then and are 

irretrievable now, 

the glances and gait and gossip and 

the times when you could not fall 

asleep. 

I want to bring you back from the dead for one 

ordinary day, 

not the days that others seek, 

when you scratched the words 

we have memorized fragments of. 

No, I want the unknowable hour 

when you wept over the young son gone, 

the bills to pay, the play 

undone, or laughed at the unexpected jest, 

the whispered request, all 

the minute things that also made you who you were:

the harried moment 

when you did an act of goodness that others did not see, 

or the way you peed or jerked off in the solitary night. 

I want you with the greediness of the glutton

who can never get enough, but I want a meal of all 

the things that history casts off.


II.

I want you in the same way I want him,

for you, too, are unknowable 

even though I have 

sat across from you on bright mornings and late 

nights and watched your wary glance.

It is possible to be near you and yet feel like

you are floating, like him, 

in some dim and distant century.

Even when I think I have caught you 

by surprise, you escape somewhere else

so that even the habits I do see 

only hide you more from me.

The raised eyebrow, the groan, the solemn look don’t begin

to bring me closer inside or cut

through what you feel 

you must conceal.

And even if I saw you in some casual hour 

of some idle day,

when you are who you are 

only when you know no one

is watching,

would I know you any better, 

would something in your eyes

give you away? 

Or would you stay

unknowable, too,

not wanting to be seen,

the you afraid of you?

This poem was first published with RavensPerch

Mark Evan Chimsky's poems and essays have appeared in The RavensPerch, Rabble Review, The Poet, Bard & Prose, Poetry for Ukraine, The Jewish Literary Journal, Kind Over

Matter, Bullets into Bells, Wild Violet, The Maine Sunday Telegram, The Oakland Review, JAMA, Mississippi Review, The Cincinnati Judaica Review, and The Three Rivers Poetry Journal.

Mark is excited to have his poems published in The Parliament. His poetry will also be appearing in upcoming issues of Blood & Bourbon, The Healing Muse 22, and The

Sunlight Press. Mark is a recipient of the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award as New/Emerging Poet.

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