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Off There

ISSUE:  Summer 1982
Her problem was her problem: nun of nothing,
Standing beside a leaping rivulet bubblirig
Its frothy song in numberless descant
She listened till she shook with nonchalance,

Her own angel, and dapper with blue-rinsed hair.
She stood as vacant as an uninspired landscape
Retired and, as it happens, reticent, serene
As a gold leaf, a mind clean as an empty plate

Recalling her welfare check among these birches
And the moss-ribbed streamlet going on and on
The birch trees athwart as was foretold they’d be;
Meet, as in Russian films or poems of Frost.

The old light drilling at her curled gray hair
The human heart pausing for whiteness there
Gazed with that easy uselessness of autumn
On her own likeness, unbidden everywhere.


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