2019 Poetry Marathon, Hour Five: 20 February 1993

My Hour 5 poem. I had to go back to my journals for this one.

The man behind the counter
has a drinking problem

He ignores me
I leave

In the middle of the grassy field
on the other side of the chain-link fence
an old woman, wrapped in blankets and shawls
rocks in her chair
oblivious to everything

Next to the field
an abandoned freight car
sits on now unused tracks

I look inside
it is empty, except for a black stove
and a manual typewriter

Walking back towards the field
I find a small piece of paper
by the fence

On it are printed three words:

lurks
ahead
1

Suddenly, everything is bright
as though I have just awakened
and my eyes have not had time to adjust

I rub my eyes
when I look at the piece of paper again
it has changed:

lurks
ahead
6

I shrug, and put it in my pocket

But when I take it out again
it has changed:

lurks
ahead
7

I rub my eyes and look again:

lurks
ahead
8

And again:

lurks
ahead
9

I crumple up the paper
and stuff it in my pocket

What could this mean?

I look out at the field:
the old woman in the rocking chair
is gone

Am I in the right place?

I turn around—
the freight car is now gone
the typewriter has been left between the rails

I cross the street
and make my way back to the ticket counter

The young woman on duty
tells me the flight to Cincinnati
is leaving now

The man in the next line
is carrying nine copies of TIME magazine

He looks at me and shrugs

(22 June 2019)


The original post is at https://thepoetrymarathon.com/blog/kevinjoconner/20-february-1993/

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