by Mike Puican
after “Spring” by Gerald Stern
The dawn the dawn after a night-long rain the poem
the one by Gerry Stern the alley the alley the
one I turn down as fallen leaves loosen the brightly painted girl
of the waterfall within me of whom
I’ve been silent for decades the linden the linden
slowly dying that later will return alive and Eros
standing naked among the parked cars. What does it want of me,
shameless, unraveling the thread-like thing woven
from the bright intersections of avenues, the hand
of the wild-eyed street preacher that comforts no child, the touch
the touch that speaks both cherishing
and farewell? I watch an airplane float through
a billboard on my left. I slip
past the commuters waiting for a bus as quietly as
an old man coming in for supper.
Where is my plot? A chorus of locusts
sings out; a woman with red shoes and pocketbook
spins; the streets intersecting Clark Street scatter and disentangle.
Mike Puican has been published in the New England Review, Michigan Quarterly, and previously here at qarrtsiluni, among other places.
Part 2 in a series of 7
Different things were happening at the same time. The street thrashed like a low grade fever, hail leapt from the grass! There you were at that dim grocery store of the dying mill town. The eight-months pregnant checkout girl was watching CNN as you wandered Produce grasping for Ariadne’s thread. Your only guides: oblivion and the possible lack of nerve.
I watched as your heart turned into Frozen Desserts and you held the toy steering wheel pretending to steer the cart. Tonight as you sit at your desk in a mildewed basement, asbestos sifting from the floorboards, the black waters of Lethe smoking past the ash tree in the back yard, you lean toward its calm.
by Mike Puican
For notes on the process, see the first letter in the chain.