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Saturday, November 20, 2010

of Life and Letters

Somewhere along 90 East, between Utica and Albany
tucked behind a barely-attended Shell station
there are six of us (and a dog) dozing
barely aware of the 5am torrential performance
just outside the maroon van in which we are marooned
besieged on every side by cold rain,
as if the obsessing heavens have focused all of their efforts on baptizing us exactly,
and only by the grace of Ford are we still dry

When the nasal song of another boy buzzes me awake
I am in no position (quite literally) to return to sleep
so, with my cheek against the cold window,
and my feet tucked into someone's jacket
I wonder where we are
and how I got here
and I think of lives as letters,
and love as postage,
and how we were carried fifteen,
twenty,
even thirty years
from the far corners of this country
across every kind of desert
by all breeds of postmen and postwomen,
and then cramped and folded into this box
for one restless night of leaning
shoulder against shoulder
unread,
before we will be carried off in six directions

And then I wonder if it isn't just Birth and Death that threads us together, afterall,
but the enduring of moments such as this:

a How-Did-I-Get-Here moment

For some of us this moment is as persistent as adulthood,
and for others, it is just one night in a van.

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