by Paul Smyth
- The poet pauses now
- Sighs as he takes
Pleasure in those six lines he's written. So far,
- Though rough, so good. Somehow
- The mind that aches
With life keeps faith with words, with what they are.
- His fingertips knead his brow,
- He thinks of satellites
- Circling the planet,
Their windmill-like collector panels facing
- Sunward; and the storage sites
- On Earth, a net
Of tilting polished dish-antennae tracing
- The laser beams. He writes
- Apollo banished and thinks
- Of energy,
Those laser beams charged with the stuff that is
- The shimmering greens and pinks
- He would now see
Outside, the neon glow of town. But his
- Desire is words. He blinks,
- Imagining now a young
- Girl writing in
Her locked, vinyl-bound diary, white and gold
- Her jeans and jersey flung
- On the bed, her thin
Arms bare, her bra lacy and pink but old.
- Now, on the tip of her tongue,
- The delicate phrase that will
Express the thrill and fire of him who was
- Near her tonight, who still,
- She's almost sure,
Can smell her cologne. Above the date she draws
- A pale blue daffodil.
- The poet closes his eyes
- And sees a rock,
A slab of shale, the fossil imprint there
- A clear amoeba. What dies
- Becomes this clock
That never strikes but makes a man despair
- Of language, and scrutinize
- The lined palm of his hand.
- Yet is this not
A form of speech, an oracular metaphor?
- And does it not command
- The salt that Lot
Embraced and wildly wept on, Cry out, implore
- Your god to understand?
- That makes him smile, and he
- Gets up and goes
To open his window: the whoosh and glare of cars,
- A distant siren, three
- Trashcans, and those
Familiar voices from the stoop. Mars
- Winks through a public tree.
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