140poem

March 19, 2011

When the distance between us became eye contact
he stopped, then I stopped. This is what civilized people
do on unpaved roads through rolling countryside.
By all appearances, he was a cowboy, trotting, home.
I pieced it slowly together with the same bad punctuation
until his image was real, not a Marlboro cut-out flapping
in the breeze and surprisingly cold golden light of sunset.
There was nothing to block the wind from horizon to horizon,
just hills and a few trees stuck in the ground like toothpicks
in a sandbox or desolate Atlantic beach. We briefed over
pleasantries until the distance to the next standing building
was the hot topic at hand. Then, I had to know his horse’s name.
Even now I cannot explain why. So I asked him his horse’s name.
His face stumbled up with bad punctuation and distant thinking.
Naming a horse, he said sometime later, had never occurred to him.
Such was his simplicity and wisdom in old age: pastureland,
points A and B, the complete absence of all the unnecessary.

LOCATION: End of Crespo Road, near Tainhas, Brazil – Written inside roadside diner while drinking cafe com leite; the owner is a kind man of Portuguese descent who let me pitch a tent outside.

Previous post:

Next post: