Today's poem is by Paul Guest

Poem for the National Hobo Association Poetry Contest

I will not be there with you but think
of all the misery we've yet
to romanticize. Think of the train cars
rattling all night like the bones
of an epileptic. Think of the song
your mother sang to soap
and how her words drained away
with dirt. Think of the door
that screamed its rusted
warning each time you entered
and the last time you left,
your life knotted up in a red bandana on a stick.
Think of St. Louis, frozen
in April. Think of the girl
who does not know she existed,
that she throbs like a nerve exposed,
that she drains away
each night. I will not be there
to learn your names
or hear of the strange happinesses
beneath the sky
or to swear to return
but think of your feet by a mythic fire warmed
and the orchard around you
pelting the night with apples.
Think of those immense barges
singing like baleen whales
and think of your escapes,
which are legend,
of which I will someday hear.
And thinking of you
in winter the river
speckled with snow
will not be the slab where your body last lay.

Copyright © 2007 Paul Guest All rights reserved
from Notes for My Body Double
Bison Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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