Thursday, June 26, 2014

Man in a Hurry


There’s a man in a hurry winds round
a corner in March when the sun is chilled
and has no direction but forward. His flared
overcoat a flag in the wind, he is restless
for a morning he has heard of once
and has not found by the shack on the corner
nor in the buildings that shadow past him. 
He heads north on the pavement, unidentified
on the boulevard he sees on the horizon.

The light winter is gone and he hears
summer thickening in the bushes, or, rather,
remembers the grass bleeding under a mower.
But not now, in the morning, when the shack
splinters and yawns at him as he passes,
his hat blurred and his hands clenched in
a pocket. Brooding in a wilderness,
he is unable to think of a sagging bush
and the willow he loved once as a child.

He has no thought of the concrete or the sun
swelling over the park, where the neat fences
gather in the children and gathered in him once
when his palms were drier than the autumn.
He doesn’t listen but he can still hear
his mother’s voice dripping like tap water
the the tub. The warmth bubbles up to his chin
and then he is not what he is but a man in
pointed shoes hurrying down the sidewalk, and
the stark shadows are there and are still to come.

He has no time for a vision or the truth
or a lie because he knows who he is and it is
not the moment to suggest that the shack has
an interior: that the darkness is knee-deep
and perhaps there is a wedding and a family
and an old man who is no longer nodding.
He has his credentials and is quick-lipped
on the trolley, but he is walking now
and there is no one in front of him
or on the avenue or around the corner
where I’ve been watching him disappear.


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