A Man's World
He will surely take it out when you’re alone
And let it dangle between you like a locket on a chain.
Like any world, it will flicker with lights that mean dwellings,
Traffic, a constellation of need. Tiny clouds will drag shadows
Across the plane. He’ll grin watching you squint, deciphering
Rivers, borders, bridges arcing up from rock. He’ll recite
Its history. How one empire swallowed another. How one
Civilization lasted 3,000 years with no word for eternity.
He’ll guide your hand through the layers of atmosphere,
Teach you to tamper with the weather. Swinging it
Gently back and forth, he’ll swear he’s never shown it
To anyone else before.
From Wade in the Water (Graywolf Press, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Tracy K. Smith. Used with the permission of Graywolf Press.