Ann Arbor Review

INSIDE THIS ISSUE:

Geoffrey Philip
Joseph McNair
Chris Lord
Coleman Barks
Dave Etter
Elisavietta Ritchie
Sam Cornish
Duane Locke
Karyn Wolven
Marisella Veiga
Michael D. Long
Running Cub
Joanie Freeman
Alan Britt
Shutta Crum
Steve Beaulieu
Gerald Clark
Mary E. Finlan
Fred Wolven

THE BAY

An old man sitting on a bench poses this hypothetical
         to passers-by:  If you found
                  a paper sack full of money on the ground, tens

of thousands, what would you do?  If I knew whose it was,
         I'd return it.  Even if you
                  found it at night?  Yes, the next day I'd take it

back.  You're a fool.  He waves him on.  Another citizen,
         same question.  If money chanced
                  to me that way, I'd keep it.  Even if you knew

who lost it?  Yes.  You're a dangerous man, he says, looking
         away.  Third guy.  This story is not
                  the same if a woman asks the question to three

women, is it?  We'll come back to that.  This one, How am
         I to know what dark mood, or lofty
                  moral whim, or numbness, or light enthusiasm, or

urgent necessity, will surround me as part of what I do in
         the moment when I find the money?
                  I do not know that, so I cannot answer.  Sit down,

my friend.  How have you been?  Is it that any course decided
         on beforehand, any unspontaneous
                 gesture, bears watching?  We are blown about

a gusty bright afternoon; the wind comes veering, bumping
         us together, then away across
                 the bay, affrighting, delighting, hilarious,

precarious, delirious, imperious, until we sink, that is
         die, because there is no shore
                 to this:  the waves in the woodgrain of the deck

flex their layer-lines against my fingerprint.  It is a
         late afternoon, late April
                 breeze I am looking up into as a cotton tree

releases its cotton like Normandy over the yard, the cars,
         the twelve concrete piers of a
                water tower that isn't here anymore.  The tin

shed of an old bakery.  As I watch and think to put such
         a natural floating in a poem,
                one of the sex-parachutes, a brave bewinded

sperm-jumper, lands just here, between my eyes.   


Coleman Barks, Athens, Georgia

 


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