for Allen (1926-1997)
A few days later I saw you
seated at a dusty crossroad
looking toward a vista of waterways
reminiscent of a cranberry bog or salt water marsh,
maybe the River Styx.
A geography of immensity without habitation
where you sat on an old wooden stool
with books and papers focused intently.
One familiarity--your Calvin Klein
Goodwill navy blazer, my favorite;
your pens poking out from the pocket.
I stood quietly to your side waiting to assist you
yet not disturb your concentration.
Finished, you handed me a sheaf of papers
Here, these are for you --for translation.
Then, you got up and walked slowly down the left had road.
I followed but you turned to me and said,
This is as far as you are allowed to go, I don't have the water rights
for your passage--
A hitch of sadness in your voice,
your face mostly impassive, Bell's Palsy,
one eye bigger, your face a bit cock-eyed,
but looking straight on
as we finished our business once again
in clarity and respect, our natural elegance
hanging there a second
as we stared at one another.
I watched you walk off and knew you were finally gone.
[Published in Primo Penseiro, Shivastan Publishing,Woodstock and Kathmandu, 2008.
Reprinted from Mercy of Tides, edited by Margot Wizansky, Salt Marsh Press, 2003]
[Photo by Myles Aronowitz]