The Idol and the Icon
no telling what lies on the other side: the X and its door: the wayfarer arrives at the throne at the end of the world to find that the throne is a cardboard sign scrawled in black marker: (I thirst): no one, nowhere: no “look no further”: though the boy waves his bottle over his head, walks the highway shirtless on the shoulder, the last of his water beading against clear empty plastic, and visible from the car as we drove by. In the worst heat of the day. In the desert not far from the border. So, the X and its exits, the many passages since. So to have gone further out of the way—to have not been so sensible— so that the walker, watched sometimes, secretly, from the givenness, the order, of conditions that now still make their appearances known —and utmost—wouldn’t be alone: here is water left on the roadside with the carrion, and the cars that cross leftward, inex -tricable from the broken line:
Copyright © 2019 Gina Franco. This poem was originally published in Quarterly West. Used with permission of the author.