PoetryEtc Featured Poet: Mark Weiss   

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Strange, Carlos says, to see the country
beyond the city, a line of hills
in the distance. I'm here,
I could be there, I told myself once
at the open window, two realms
of the possible.

Earlier today at gray noon
a parade of Sikhs followed the van
in which their living saint was carried
through the streets of Glasgow. They wore orange
turbans or shawls and walked
barefoot, the difference between here and Lahore
very soon apparent, a choice made
and remade daily.

Sickening at the thought.
Nausea, dread.
Not so much moving towards
as averse to,
as good a way to choose
as any.

That a great wound's behind it may be useful to think
whether true or not.

Maybe there was a voyage to a place that the mind seeks
forever after that's become, what, heart's-desire, but changed,
so that the voyage can be made now only in dreams as if
abducted nightly by the wee folk
one had once been one of. I just
didn't want to do it, I did this
instead. What
after the mountains? now just beyond suburbs, the refuge
in hot weather, that banal, where mishap
had enchanted each place water collected, the slow spring
in the field, beneath a lone bush
that was never cut, the shed
where the blacksmith worked
chained to his forge,
the bear in its cage,
the mythic sundaes and the catfish
big as your arm, how in a flash
it could all be turned around, a horse
poisoned by clover, a line of houses
become uncanny, somewhere in there
a sort of decision, "I would rather not" or
"I would rather," creating a field
from which the figure
would emerge. What emerges.
But how did I get here,
and how did this field happen?