From “One With Others”

     People study the dingy chenille clouds for a sign.


     People did what they have done.


     A town, a time, and a woman who lived there.


     And left undone what they ought not to have did.




     I take one more drive across town thinking about the retired welding teacher easing over that rise seeing the parking lot full of white men. I wonder if he thought he would die in the jungle [where no Vietcong ever called him [N-word]  ] or he would die in front of the bowling alley [without ever having been inside] or die in the swimming pool [without ever having been in it, except when drained, and the police had him in their sights]. Or if, because he was a young man, he would never die. I attach V to my driving-around thoughts.


     An object unworthy of love she thought she was.


     It was a cri de coeur.


     Those of our get had given her a nom de guerre: V.


     A simple act, to join a march against fear

     down an old military road.


     We were watching an old movie the night


     the table started walking toward us


     and there was trouble on Division.


     She became a disaffiliated member [of her race].


     I'm one of them now, she said, upon release


     from jail. I am an invader.




     Look into the dark heart and you will see what the dark eats other than your heart.


     The world is not ineluctably finished


     though the watchfires have been doused


     more walls have come down


     more walls are being built


     Sound of the future, uncanny how close


     to the sound of the old


     At Daddy's Eyes


     "Pusherman" still on the jukebox


     Everybody's past redacted




                                                                                   For me


     it has always been a series of doors:


     if one is opened precipitously a figure is caught bolting from bed


     if another, a small table, a list of demands on school paper


     if another, a child on the linoleum, saying she wants a white doll


     a woman sitting on a bed, holding a folded flag


     a shelf of trophies behind her head


     an ironing board, bottle of bourbon on the end


     sewing machine on a porch


     To walk down the road without fear


     To sit in a booth and order a sweet soft drink


     To work at the front desk


     To be referred to as Gentleman


     To swim in the pool


     To sit in the front row and watch Run Wild, Run Free [next week: Death of a Gunfighter]


     To make your way to the end of the day with both eyes in your head


     Nothing is not integral


     You want to illumine what you see


     Fear reflected off an upturned face


     Those walnuts turning black in the grass


     It is a relatively stable world


     Gentle Reader


     But beyond that door


     It defies description

Originally published in One with Others (Copper Canyon Press, 2010). Copyright © by C. D. Wright. Reprinted with the permission of the author.