Rodney Nelson


Moving Recluse

It had not taken much to effect
a look of city out in the vast
a paved walk an iron gate mown brown lawn
elms in dead leaf that guarded whatever
building did not face the prairie
it might have been Seattle you had
ridden along to the lotted day of
which you had known or autumn in Fargo
the building the nonlutheran hos-
pital wherein you had come to light
a target of covert beadswomanry
that would have had you recluse in the
park that edged it also had you chant
                 jag älskar novemberdagens grå
never think to move out on the fareway
you might have contented with an effect
of Stockholm in the overhang the
peewitry of university
the same in columbarium garden
and not looked up from the squirrels at all
you might have done piano work at
night not have known how to walk so not
have made a basswood friend on the river
a park that no one could drive through but as
it was war had taken you early
to what connected prairie mountain
sea the daylit way beyond whatever
house you had ridden along to that did
not look at the vast in admitted
small town and you enjoyed the effect
of elms brown lawn an ash November noon
knowing that you were not the gate's to keep

                          I love the November day's gray
                                         —Bo Bergman


Drone of a Mower

The garlic you put in last fall
are thriving now at an edge of the
patch you would have tilled and seeded
were too weak the loam a wide vacant
interruption as dark as good-
bye night the weed to come you want to
work out there may not even look
at it any more times the drone of
a mower omening grass that will
overtake the weed if you do not
and you listen to it in bed
one dim midmorning on a farm to
which no
                 idiot highways run

                          last line from "Eight Variations" by Weldon
                          Kees, copyright © 2003 by the University of
                          Nebraska Press


Known Reach

It might have been Leeds we met in
or some other city north enough
to dim at midday when a cloud
lay over
                                          I had said one word and
you were of utter mind to be
this summer latening time with me
                                          how we went
or wound up at an
Arizona mountain I did not
have to know when I woke to your
trim nakedness
                                          we were already
quenched it seemed but you fed me choc-
olate cake with love and let me use
your toothbrush
                                          I did not have one
must not have dared to plan or to pack
even though the cabin was mine
and we had arrived in my maroon
                                          you were off alone to
climb the mountain which did not deso-
late me nor did I wonder why
I a trekking man had not gone too
only watched you through the window
                                          you had an
animal in your arms
a cat maybe not that it meant
                                          what mattered was to load
the sedan then drive to the top
surprise you
                                          or not in that we had
agreed without a word I would
                                          what meant was
a love too good to be
talkative we could trust in to
lengthen a moment beyond known reach
                                          I started
up to where I would
meet you
                                          have not reached it yet but I
know who you were and you know me