I am a walker. I follow the sun as it angles
Into the evening on an edge where
A thoroughfare meets a hill of empty houses,
And as it spreads through back roads, I walk
Into nights—imaginary city—into nights
I walk changed, to be changed like a character
In a story I might read at the diner
On a damp morning when I don’t feel right, or
By the fire, folded into fire, days or nights
Or days again, walking with a map in
My head, a little blood in my teeth. If I walk
Out into my own block, and don’t know
Where I am, things may even out in
Neighborhoods I’ve never been to as I
Begin to feel at home, and forget what I am
After. I walk along the edge of the airfield.
The city swells in and out of my descriptions.
I can’t make fit these words falling from
My mouth. Ships in the yard at a distance,
Then close. Clouds precede me as I walk
Home—it’s not far now—between two
Memories, sidewalk shifting among
Mailboxes, streetlights, apartment complexes,
All of it settling into the orange domes
Of the synagogue, where Farmington Avenue
Dips down into the city, meets the rise of
Its buildings. This is where I’m from.
My city made real. I am elegant. Tiresome.
The avenue, I can’t be precise now about how
It was then, though I see I’m still this person
In here, nestled among words. They aren’t mine.
Stopping under a tree by a wall. Darkness
Cast like a light. I’m lying alone on a bench,
Feet on the arm, fingers on the sidewalk,
Buzzing with caffeine. The police come, but
I sit up and they stay in their cars. I am so
Able to be large and harmless. Thought beating
In the heart. Every yard a very varnished green.
I come and go and come and go all night. Past
The familiar gas station, through the white
Squares of the divinity school, mansion rows,
Wide and wealthy. Perhaps I depend too much
On a breeze rising unexpectedly out of
The night’s heat? No matter. Long after curfew,
And I could care less which city or street.
There are rules to these things, but I’ve walked
Beyond them. I’m the figure in the distance.
Not everything has to be a struggle, I say.
Originally printed in Salt Hill. Copyright © 2017 by Samuel Amadon. Used with the permission of the author.