When Pressed

Louis Armand

Three Poems

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ON HENRIK GALEEN’S STUDENT OF PRAGUE

The aliens had just invaded, it was the soundtrack
from Les Misèrables. We were leaving the airport,

wind full of sub-zero static. A woman with black
and white skin, in the shadow of the moon, reappears

from a John Cassavetes film and reminds of Hapsburgs
and Mitteleuropa. It is in the nature of mirrors

to strike a bargain before the fact, without witnesses.
Last night I dreamt about you, you were completely

real—grasping at the idea you lived and that it was
necessary. Cried, then, at the first star above the roof-

tops to fade. It was that very same Étoile of the
unknown soldier, the Star Hotel, where I’m sitting

and writing this because it’s cheaper with better rooms.
Outside, floodlights over the sidings and freight yards,

a suit coat hanging on a wire fence in rain. Dreaming
of a cellist in a charcoal blouse, bruises on her thighs—

saying it was found out “from consciousness,”
being seen, heard, felt, smelt or tasted. Staring and

listening in a bed in nowhere. Is it easier being dead
for a reason? Memory by imagined navigation.

Their eyes were open like ours, it was impossible to tell.
Reversing the roles. Behind everything a simple

yet remote promise hangs. It is a ghostly music we are
always waiting to be soothed by, that never comes.