And in the morning everything’s frozen. An irregular breeze moves the glistening
mane of a willow like jewels around the neck of a woman
nodding off. And in the middle distance, past hoarfrost
along a chain link fence, a brief line of silver trees—
whatever they are, poplars maybe—like all that’s left to prove a ruins.
When you’re young you assume desire does something to time
the way chemicals do something to the mind.
And the hateful old men, some of them so young, reliable as moonlight,
when do you become them? In the park
they sell romance, two for five. They pay that plus the angle of repose
beneath giant pines, and the cops go in there the way I go in the refrigerator,
more bored than hungry. My neighbor reports “some junkie”
stole the flashlight out of his car last night. I’m sorry,
I say, but now I’m thinking of this junkie like a Cyclops in the dark,
without social manners or fear of the gods.
He wasn’t smart enough to tie himself to the mast, or maybe
there was no mast, or his arm was the mast
and this is what happened. He points the light. He follows its moon.
He floats towards the song. We all do.
We’re not sorry. Whatever, Odysseus. It takes a weirder hero.
Jeffrey Morgan is the author of two books of poetry: Crying Shame (BlazeVOX [books], 2011) and The Last Note Becomes Its Listener (Conduit Books & Ephemera, 2019), winner of the Mind’s on Fire Prize. His poems appear in Copper Nickel, The Kenyon Review Online, Ninth Letter, Rattle, Verse Daily, and West Branch. He lives in Bellingham, WA. You can sometimes find him at thinnimbus.tumblr.com.