Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Slow Depth Plotting


On my birthday snow has buried

my favorite junk car in the woods.

Naked seat-springs glower with rust.

The steering wheel, black cracked Bakelite,

looks futile. The overall slouch

of the ruined vehicle suggests

that “rendezvous with destiny”

New Wave filmmakers adored,

although they never convinced me.


Meanwhile I’ve missed my rendezvous

with you, a glancing blonde presence

in the corner of my eye. Even

in the woods beside the river

I catch a flash of pale blue dress,

too flimsy for upcountry winter.

Your love of mime exposes you

one sly gesture at a time,

each imperceptible, ill-defined.


The river looks solid enough

to support an armored division.

Its snow-smoothed trough bears prints

of a dozen modest animals

busy with animal business.

No black hint of current betrays

the slow depth plotting. The dam

five miles upstream at Bennington

stalls ambitions rivers sometimes

allow to overwhelm themselves.


The junk car has rested here forty

or fifty years. It came to rest

with sculptural integrity intact.

The car in which you died, however,

crushed itself so humbly nothing

of its original form survived.

Do you remember the slam and smash

that collapsed your skull? You dodge

and feint in the corner of my eye

and your presence on my birthday

explains our divergent lives.