January
for Linda Gregg Being a man, I was the least among the shades because of what I still carried. I asked the caryatid to extend her hand, but it was broken, which is the way with stone. There were several at the entrance, but they were ornamental, no longer load-bearing. The dead would not have it. The sun was sinking toward the rim, I remember. I remember too the poet said, it is more important to walk across a field now than to revisit the sorrows. Goya
We are traveling out from some handsome seed to a destination where, as in an allegory, Life hands Death a slip of paper, whose inscription has been rubbed away but means this is important, and the slip is received like a ticket. And Cronus gobbles his children, and men, terrified, protesting with fists and twisted faces, are put down in the ditches and the streets. Empire Service
It seems to take longer than usual for the train to emerge from the tunnel. Broken buildings, then rocky banks of the river and weedy masses rushing past. At Tarrytown, the phone glows, but it's not a real light, not a light you can read by. Rather, it's your face. I have lost the power to explain myself. At Croton, a wedge of ducks makes way across the still inlet. Farther out, swans. Two of them. Just for a second do they register. Weeds are everywhere out there. And yet it's winter and they're dead too, though still standing at attention, still presenting themselves somehow to the vines, the trunks, the sky. Then off in the distance I hear the horns, warning of the train, and I'm on it.



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