64-West & KY State Fair

By D.S. WALDMAN

Kentucky, United States

64-West
After Calvino

When you ride a long time in the private
night of your pickup cab
                                 you enter eventually 
into a desire you cannot name    a greater dark
that wants only what                     
                                  in this commonwealth 
of rain and power lines  it can never attain    how
the screen door 
                         you left through in West Jessamine 
swung  then hesitated    hung for a moment 
as if holding out 
                        for  something  before easing 
shut  with old wire complaints    You drive past 
the “Florence Y’all” water tower
                                             which you cannot 
see with the black sky steep around you    which  if 
you could see  
             would mean you’re nearing Cincinnati 
a city worth stopping for    worth running to

 

KY State Fair

About time, never wish for more, you told me, 
and never wish for less, as if the present were
one of those teacups one sits in as a child, rotating
at once around two different centers.
                                    I lived, in those days,
waiting in line––metaphorically, so it can often 
seem now, though the line was real, as my life 
in it was.  I spent much of my time listening
to the intonations
                           of words: conversations drifting,
and being drifted from, variously, until,
by nightfall, it was just the carnival.  Each child’s
name…sprays of laughter…all folded into
the wide 
              reeling of bells and tiny cymbals
that, perhaps by design, struck just faster
than the flicker of seconds.  And I remember now, 
in darkness, looking across
                                          the river at the lights,
an idea a young boy posed, once,  to his father:
that, if we send a mirror far into the stars, we might
see, in our reflection, one of our past selves,
cowlicked, probably, 
                                    and disheveled.  And how,
if we keep going, pushing ourselves farther
from ourselves, we’d see, eventually, the blankness
we were one day born into.  I forget what you
told me after—I think it had something to do
with loneliness.     

 

 

D.S. Waldman teaches creative writing in San Diego, California. His work has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, The Gettysburg Review, Copper Nickel and Colorado Review. www.dswaldman.com

Image by Flickr user Paula Soler-Moya.

64-West & KY State Fair

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