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Rehearsal


ISSUE:  Autumn 1998

Driving to the airport, we pass the equestrian
statue in the park: the plumed general
on his narrow plinth. It’s not easy
to sit bronzed in the traffic, splendid
in every weather. From his horse
he watches the cars plunging toward the tunnel,
three hooves stuck in cement.

I’m practicing to leave you.
Each year I leave a little more
and you drive me. Our words echo
from an undeclared distance.
Where is the ticket? I ask
though it’s late to be asking.

Now I’m on the plane, buckled in, watching
a Western. That man in the blue shirt
is you, I’d pick you out anywhere.
You’re taking off your boots as the wagons
tie up for the night. I knew
you’d be home by now, even with the traffic.
You’re looking straight at me. So much dust
on a long journey. Dust on your cheeks,
your forehead, your hair.
I almost reach out to brush it away.

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