[city ringed with erased roads]
A gray-lipped man circles a pond, hands bare
and raw. Our concern is rehearsed, blue-
rounded and rushed, but still meant,
intending to mean, just as his words are
earnest, leaning toward, and already lost
in speaking — leaving us
bodies alone to put on, take off, voice
spun into spray across water. Beneath junipers,
two stick figures drawn as with a brush
handle through paint: one kneels,
arms angled toward the other
staring back down rifle-sights, lines lost
in the nod and sway of limbed shade.
The city creeps near, with its windows turned off.
Shadows lie in the alley —
who do they belong to? Perhaps just laundry
hanging from balconies, but the shadows
don’t know they’re from shirts, and they flutter
sad wrists with no hands,
headless necks, the air violet with early spring.
The title [city ringed with erased roads] is a variation on a line from Octavio Paz.
The following lines are based on images, but not necessarily the exact language, found in various translated works of the noted poets:
“the city creeps near, with its windows turned off” — Tomas Tranströmer.
“shadows lie in the alley – who do they belong to?” — Alejandro Jodorowsky.
“perhaps just laundry hanging from balconies, but the shadows don’t know they’re from shirts” — Fernando Pessoa.