tuesday, february 10

footing on the bridge
is treacherous - today's thaw left snowmelt
for sundown to turn glassy slick
i walk with my hands in pockets despite
the singular likelihood of a fall
feeling buttoned down and streamlined
observe: i know where i am going

self deception is slippery too
like the kind of textured glass blocks
they sometimes build walls out of,
allowing light to pass while
signifying little
- the stairwells in the last place i lived
were full of those

now the elements of my daily transit

are the dessicated brown of last summer's
tomato plants in the snow,

shoes hanging from the utility line
across the street, a moment's walk
from the blue house where small brown children
lived (the very smallest occasionally asked me
questions, the only one of which
i ever understood was
what are you doing?
i didn't have a good answer)

the place where it is fastest to cross
10th street, from alley to sidestreet
where the no-crossing sign is posted

this footbridge,
the concrete and chainlink curve
over a yard full of huge steel
structural elements, connected in
some vital way to the rails
where pass megatons of coal
piled in open topped cars

returning in the hours after midnight,
the church on the corner and
the two halves of the neon cross on its steeple
installed days (or was it weeks?) apart
two different shades of electrified white

the moon, strange striations of cloud like the spokes
of a great wheel clouds of steam pouring
from the campus physical plant in the middle distance
while the tracks and their red signal lights
vanish at a horizon otherwise lost and
the tracks of a single rabbit disappear into the
level whiteness.