Wednesday, April 08, 2009

From the Silent Hallway

Something purer was calling—
the friendly sweet flavor of the smoke
could only last so long before it all
turned to ash. Before the past
caught up with the present
and you found yourself loathing
someone else in a dream of curled
bed sheets or worse—there she was
again, pushing back the thick curtains,
revealing daylight. Outside, what you knew

of the city had been replaced by the blooming
suburbs: all the oleanders, all the wandering
marys spoken for or simply replaced—
I can’t help it that they put in the yew
bushes and silver maples before you arrived.
My house is still yours, bleak Midwestern
ghosts included. What choice do I have
but to accept Northern winds and sunless
days? Why, we’ve been hoping
for rain, the kind of rain that lends itself
to rumors and fortitude: what did you do
with that other person, in your dark
little brick house by the river?

All I can say is that by the time
you get this message, the chemicals
will have begun to flow into
another patient, somewhere in a southern
city where the tulip trees have already bloomed—
O, to be there, gray wanderer, in the bright
corridors waiting with the rest, looking out
from the big picture windows
to the rolling hills of central Tennessee unfolding,
the river only miles away.

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