There is nothing concrete to grasp in 
looking into the morning sky

The evidence of red-eye 
flights east a plane drawn line presents

is not a wheelbarrow solid enough 
dependency as day and night

carry   in coming and going
You don't see the poem

saying anything you can't see in it
White dashes of contrails' 

seemingly unmoving streak towards sunrise
disquiet the pale otherwise 

unpunctuated blue of dawn    
breaks it off                Here is that silence

More by Ed Roberson

On the Sparrow: No Blame

 When I worked in the steel mill
the ceiling crane dropped a bolt
at my feet          the way the cat
leaves his catch on the doorstep
for me        to step over it
a bolt thick as a sparrow:
the gift of it:              it didn't
easy as eggshell crack my skull.

Walking underneath the el's
same bridge superstructure
when i first arrived
in Chicago    this is what
I thought of          a falling bolt,
having to give up my cats
and not be mad if the whole 
thing falls off track aimed at me.

Buildings straight up from the street
tall slough off their "Falling Ice,"
stand-up sidewalk signs like it's nothing.
Buildings the sparrow's slam into,
fall from—    watched from the window desks—
mistaking light for the sky, land up here.
The cats probably have been
put to sleep by age by now. No blame.

Nolan,

                     The apparition of these faces in the crowd...)



riding the bullet train
the view passes by so fast
it is either a blur they say

or —like night lightning
strobes the raindrops
to a stop in midair

in that soundless moment—
maybe from the train you can glimpse
waiting there

one of those famous petals stopped still
in midair holding its wave to you
in place.        write us

and tell us if
this is so.

Whose sleeves: American Tagasode

your shape is in the robe    worn or not
a roominess of you folds into its cloth

a sachet in the drawer from which the air
of the place was taken   fixed of    you’re here

the smell has temperature and space
the wider warmth that buttered popcorn tastes

and not you    it folds into a time’s clot
a sachet in a drawer   personage of its own still you

                                 *

I have to wear a bus to Rikers Island with
opaque tears up to my neck to get in       to see you

in your two inch thick glass robe I have to imagine
you naked under   to place my hand saying

I miss you against you where I can’t touch and love
has to break across insulating space       still warm

I have to stand my day in the folding up put away
given you as time   with you. I smell I need you on my clothes

                                 *

I smell gunfire folded in      to every turn
the city’s track laps into its hands on race

then files away not guilty    I smell the drawers
of the records they keep   folded away    from stands taken

away  distance doesn’t dissipate
the space between the bullet holes in you in me   folded

you are the map I have to sleep with in my pocket to be sure
I know how to get out of here

                                 *

your shape is in the robe    the sharp creases
of its fold when you wore it   blocked into

the counterpoint around you   that even
folded stood you out to me   that they couldn’t

see you   that one day   they would shoot
always folded into the robe you wore

gun or not   phone mistaken or empty handed   innocent
or not   there is this fold on itself  we sleep in

           in the fabric
           of this country’s culture

Related Poems

Going There

Of course it was a disaster.
The unbearable, dearest secret
has always been a disaster.
The danger when we try to leave.
Going over and over afterward
what we should have done
instead of what we did.
But for those short times
we seemed to be alive. Misled,
misused, lied to and cheated,
certainly. Still, for that
little while, we visited
our possible life.