Waiting Then Not Waiting for a Light to Change


Waiting and Then Not Waiting for
a Green Light in Greenfield, Massachusetts


         The red pulse of three turn signals and the click of my own
                     —a serial music, more for the eye than the ear.
         Images of unseen birds sweep the rear window of the car ahead,
         like a school of neon tetras through an aquarium glass,
         but swif' swift—each concise image pulled awry,
         as the flock, itself, is warped, is bulged—is gone.
         An hour ago: Gray whispery wisp of a man standing
         a little less than the librarian on duty:
                      " ... I have always been very sensitive,
         very creative —yes-yes— have been all my life,
         very sensitive, very creative ... "        and on the street
         outside the library, a drunk grabbed a parking meter,
         stiffened—heaved
                                                          —well there you have it,
         a hot lunch. And now it is—the awaited shift from red
         to green—the tachometer needle jumps.
                                                                   (When you redline
         on fear you redline, and everybody has a battlefield,
         and it doesn't matter where or what the battlefield
         when you redline).
                                          I still have 20 minutes on a meter
         in Brattleboro—but that's another town, another state.
         "REDLINE MY HEART 3-PERSONED GOD!" I'm coming home,
         home to meat and potatoes and look at that!—
                     old apple tree? or bonsai and me incredibly shrunk?
         All these years, I have been wasting, wasting, wasting the poem.