“Arriving from always, you’ll go away everywhere.”
Blue sparks flash through the windows
of the sleepless as the last train scrapes
the elevated rails and rumbles away
into the glowing orange dark. I stand
at the turnstile and dig through my pockets
for keys, MetroCard, phone, wallet,
all left behind in a hotel downtown
and I’ve gone too far to get them back.
I walk in the track’s shadow toward Flushing
where it drops underground and ends
at Main Street, packed with Korean groceries
and knock-off shoe stores, and I go down
a street I know from stories: Holly Avenue.
I follow it past an alley where I think my mother
might’ve learned how to crush grapes into wine.
But this city is not my city, never was.
The street ends at Kissena Park, where I look
for my dad as a boy who played manhunt
with his friends in the tall grass, here
where the sun begins to rise, and shadows
drift in mist with faces that could be his,
or mine. I follow the gravel path deeper
into tall woods where the rush of traffic
and jets fades. A pack of boys on bicycles
pedals past toward a brick and concrete
tenement at the edge of the park,
miles from anywhere I know or need to be.
THE SECRET OF THE FOOL
X was off in the park talking
to himself again where the geese
snap at the ants. Nothing
is ever the same anymore, he said
to a shape of air
that moved over the dandelions
studding a green field. In a stone museum
in the frozen city last year he stilled
in the slow bloom of the Giverny gardens
and remembered the color of death
always beneath the flowers and leaves.
It is what it is the chalky antacid said
and nervous gait. X walked around
the little ditch pond to think things
no one should think. And to say them
to no one, he said. Like a screwdriver
stripping a screw, he thought too hard
about what not to do.
Christopher Dollard‘s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrow Street, The Cossack Review, The Freshwater Review, The Little Patuxent Review, The Rappahannock Review, Tirage Monthly, Watershed Review, and others. He lives in Providence, RI, where he works as a waiter to support his writing habit, and he’s online at www.christopherdollard.com.