Though I’ve been silent several months,
I might now write about a man
and a woman in a parking lot.
This parking lot is very large,
acres, and there are but few cars
huddled beneath the scattered trees,
like cattle in western Kansas.
I would want to be clear, to make
understood that the distances
are vast, and that the air contains
a heat, something like four in the
afternoon, when the air is like
that last still moment inside
a balloon just before the balloon
blows up. I could say something
about the man and his marriage and
about the woman and her marriage,
but I might not. It would be better
to mention that his car was a
long way from her car but he walked
with her all the way to the far
end of the lot where her car stood
and then when she left he walked
all the way back. I would not make
the reader think this journey was
difficult, like desert fathers
searching thirstily for Christ.
I would just want to point out that
they were together for a long time
and then the man was without her
a long time. Merely that. Because
the poem is not about the parking
lot or all their walking about.
The poem occurs when they arrive
at her car and they stand looking
at each other. This is where really
huge distances are, the inches
separating two bodies. Here,
I find unbearable heat. Here
is the silence so full of words
they float between parked cars waiting
to call her back with this poem.
From Sulphur River Literary Review, Best Texas Writing I (Rancho Loco Press) , and The Road Home (Dalton Publishing)
For my thoughts about writing this poem, follow this link.