|The Word From Below
It rests, this suburb, restlessly, cleansed
with hands and rags. Like the world
up-spindled in one afternoon,
like the garden before courage
became bent and limited.
A son-in-law reads the Sears catalog
to an old woman. Eight carats and seven stones
fly by. A count can afford such things.
Read on, young man, the page with the wristwatches!
Curiosity branches past the window
or the wall and listens: the station clock jumps
as if this means something. A young woman
washes her rust-red hair, rust-red water flows
into the basin, the pipeline sings. The woman twists
her hair. She, too, listens, this woman.
Apples fall into carriages, a head
is cleaved on the bridge railing, never grows
together again. Where was this station,
where did the son-in-law work, why
did the pilgrims come? None of the town’s pain
is my doing, but I am becoming used to it
like a hand learning its letters.