She is in the next county, which is only across a creek
that sometimes floods the low-water bridge
which is really a concrete ford. Usually it leaves him staring
over and into another dry country he believes he knows.
Mornings across the valley clouds settle, keep hidden
what he has committed himself to forgetting this day:
rolling hills covered in oaks, fields just cut and hay baled,
an ocean a thousand miles away spooling waves,
and then back to the squared surround of sunlight
where he sits, the ground laced with nervous leaf
shadows. He tries to say more, to deny conclusions
that are less obvious beginnings, each breath
an abandoned kingdom, the heart hammering
its red nails, and he thinks one less day
for everyone involved.
Note To the Next Reader
Not unfound but unbound,
and everywhere knots unravel, abandoning
the ins and outs of braded rope with their once about
the tree trunk, the rabbit jumping through the hole,
the half-hitch, the square, the slip, and all the sailors’
complex twists and doubling back done to be undone.
And moorless, bookshelves a chaos of drift.
Elsewhere, a general slippage
as playground swings settle on the beat-bare earth
below their stable steel triangulations
as eleventh-floor window washers step down safely
onto sidewalks, the Hansel & Gretel trails
left by lost cargo from emptied flatbeds rushing
along highways, their tie-downs festive, manically
whipping ribboned waves, leaving wakes of speed
with no concern for the loss, the lost,
or anyone returning safely.
Everyday an unbound adventure
no matter the plan, open suitcases trailing straps
just ahead of fields of destruction,
flags free of their metal poles and the ceaseless
winded clacking of cables as these hallowed scarfs
swirl through the riddled air, unbound by blood and bullets,
splintered, unfettered, not unfree,
a triage for all our stories taking wing, taking time,
taking our lives across the blue earth of the unfound world.
This is not an unbound world until we turn the page.
Walter Bargen has published 25 books of poetry. Recent books include: My Other Mother’s Red Mercedes (Lamar University Press, 2018), Until Next Time (Singing Bone Press, 2019), Pole Dancing in the Night Club of God (Red Mountain Press, 2020), and You Wounded Miracle, (Liliom, 2021). He was appointed the first poet laureate of Missouri (2008-2009).
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.