A forest is in it, a forest | uncontrolled | It is a place they dig the graves | but no one rests there | there’s too much TV, the chance of blistering sex, kids, and the haunting music | The day the sea comes back | to the dry shore | after years | isn’t there also this | possibility? | And so they do not rest | but wait, or | not content merely | to wait | turn | begin to | go back the way they had come | looking for the ribbons, the bent leaves, the deep caves | the knife to spread the marmalade | the old signs, the old infatuations | the chafe among the hair | the sound of Barlow’s high, clear voice | chanting | Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques | they cannot help it | no one can help it | although they want to rest | the sleep won’t come | and the eyes, even of the blind, twitch open | did they hear the curlew or the drums? | In the forest, there are | the grids of streets | the spectacle of skyscrapers | the nocturnal city | agglomerates its stimuli | how could they | keep away? | And in the boat, the forest grows | each year as the boat drifts, the forest spreads | wider and wider from its centre | under the pines, and oaks and cedars | they wander | some pick up shovels, and begin to dig | others take their places in the ground | the soil in their mouths and ears | only for a short while | muffles the strings and keys | but then the music comes | and they remember | whatever they remember | the scent of the ocean long unscented, or the debts, or Tuesday | no matter how small | or how ephemeral | it is enough | to stop them resting | And the strong | try to bury the city | but the weak | keep to its familiar routes | the cafés and metro stations | the neighbourhood | with terraced houses of white brick | the deli with the violet awning | near the fire hydrant and the patch of oil | for most of them | it is enough, their children | tethered by fine ropes to the bank | while the rivers of their dreams | rise and rise, to test their moorings | for most, it is enough, it is all | and only one among them | sees the forest coming through the door | called by the sweet voice of Barlow as she sings

 


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)
(this poem, August 2016)

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