04 May 2009

Sometimes a notion swells like the ocean, and I can't think where I should be

Untitled, Princeton, WV

Postcard from Searsburg
--Wyn Cooper

What was it you wanted he calls out the door
as I walk toward his house, which tilts uphill.
I just wanted to ask, I start to say — but he
cuts me off, tells me he doesn’t talk to strangers,
says that I should go away. I tell him I like
his old car, I name the year and model,
and soon he is shaking my hand,
inviting me in for home-brewed beer.

After my second and his who-knows-
how-many-pints, he tells me he’s ready
for the government when they come.
He takes me down to the cellar, filled
With enough food for years, calendars
for the coming one, enough water for
about a month. He shows me the vegetables
he’s growing under lights, but I can’t see them.

I swirl out the door like the windmills
we watched from his den, ten spinning,
one broken. I stand in his driveway
and feel them, their slow whipping roar.
The town’s elevation is unmatched,
except by a few of its people, higher
than kites from the slogans they write
on the outside of their dwellings,
which no wind has managed to blow down.

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