With a ceremonial hush,
a line of feeling comes to rest
on nothing more supple than
the mind of day, that leather-worker
with thickened fingers, that mechanic
whose spanner slips off the bolt.
Oh how we want to stay put
in the lilacs, like bees with bellies
covered in rich, affirmative yellow.
We are certain the just-arrived
elegant one has no interest in us,
not us. He has unlatched the gate,
he has strolled past the plumeria,
and past the royal poinciana.
He stands now under the pillars
of the gleaming white portico,
at the far end of which we twist
on our wicker chairs and wonder
with our bodies, who could it be?
Fred Marchant is the author of two books of poetry. Tipping Pointwon the 1993 Word Works Washington Prize in Poetry. His second book, Full Moon Boat,will be published in October, 2000, by Graywolf Press. He teaches in the English Department at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts, where he directs the Creative Writing program. In 1970, he was discharged from the United States Marine Corps as a conscientious objector to the war in Viet Nam. For the last six years he has been an affiliate of the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Its Social Consequences at UMass-Boston, and in that capacity has taught regularly in the Joiner Center's summer writing conference.