the destination

October 11, 2008

i
you arrive in a town where you will spend
the remainder of your life the lawns are browned
by frostbites and leaves on sycamores shrivel
the view from the church parking-lot presents
a hydrangea hedge still in bloom and teeming
with chipmunks the soundtrack hijacked
by blue jays the stained glass of the lancet windows
shimmers with a hymn intoned by the throng inside
the sky they beseech is watery and low
and the lake is within a stone throw from wherever

ii
you have picked it at random simply by counting
seven exits from the last stop unwilling to tell
one hicksville from another you were looking
for a place to lay down your burden and this one
happens to have a red courthouse tower seen from afar
with a clock whose frozen hands
almost touch midnight without specifying
a day or a year must be the late seventies
judging by a decaying steel mill the very
fish skeleton of the existence as such

iii
speaking of which remember hitting a fishmarket
some sixty miles ago where in front of your eyes
the deft piscator gilling a black bass produced
a brass ring from within the creature’s bowels
never having thrown it in the lake you could not
have been the addressee or perhaps the fisherman
was a classics dropout armed with an aged joke
he may be using it as a shibboleth to sort out
the locals from the commuters with a harvard diploma
to better avail himself of their monetary situation

iv
come to think of it none of those locals seems
to be in a hurry to greet the new settler
except for the presumed jarrers of the stained glass
the locals are paramount to the entire scenario
you will secretly award each one with a name
of somebody once loved or simply met elsewhere
it has been seven exits but the true one is found
as to the doctor the matter can wait
one will turn up eventually but the verdict
is immutable still the life was a burst of joy

v
here under the unresponsive sky
on their soil saturated with rust you will settle
in a rented hovel with a porch facing the lake
not necessarily placid it owes you nothing
like the sky let it be simply a space of water
and the clock on the tower at the edge of time
will mutely chime while the natives shuttle
to and fro their secret names unknown to any
smiling you will sit on the porch with a dead laptop
and type blindly lifewasaburstofjoylifewas