By Marianne Boruch

 

TELEPATHY

 

 

On the bike path—boys

too big for their bikes, outgrowing them,

hunched over the handlebars,

silly above the shrink-down wheels.

And middle-aged guys, in their perfectly

stretched colors—red, bright yellow—

not a wrinkle in their

pitched-ahead pose on this new thing,

a cross between a racer

and a mountain bike.

   But the boys,

they’re all over the place—no helmet, of course—

and their knees splay out, too long-legged

now for their little bikes. They squint.

They jumble up the path and love

their threat to me, coming at me,

careful not to see me.

   And some of those men,

whatever day at the office

behind them, have no face at all.

Or do they? Only the dark

of their glasses, the jaw line

just so and distant. And maybe I’m just so

unfair. But I’m your age--I want to shout—

remember our pathetic-sweet

kindergarten class? We took naps. We drank

milk with a straw. And then what? Years

of burn and rage. And so—

how did you vote? I don’t even

want to know.

   Here, these boys

practice happiness

with their bad lot: a bike too small?

A rousing so what! In summer’s

late afternoon. I believe

in telepathy. Don’t

go to this war, I think hard

as they pass.

 

 

 

YES LOVES NO

 

 

in its heart of hearts. Yes, so cheerful,

but looking for a little shade

in secret, i.e.: the underside

of a leaf is

pretty interesting, its veins

delicate, crossing and recrossing,

a silent, stark

busyness, as in who knew? as in

and all this time. Because Yes remembered

the way to the graveyard and loved

to give directions, loved even how

No kept not getting it, not turning right

at the first right or even the second, how No

got too drowsy to drive, and pulled over, Yes

smiling I understand, but saying

I would think grief

would keep you awake. Bright nail

in the coffin and all that?

No, said No, going invisible then: Yes isn’t

a bully, not really. Yes just wants

to get to the graveyard,

say certain things out loud, leave the potted marigolds

to the weather. Well, said Yes, at least it’s

not raining. So by the side

of that road rarely traveled, Yes and No

sat quietly together, a few

minutes, I think. I timed them: maybe

a whole half hour, the tree shrouding them, an oak,

huge and riddled with rot. Yes dozing too

but oddly, eyes open. How can you

sleep like that? No wanted to say, glancing

sideways, quick. And Yes,

looking straight ahead, loved

those doubtful kisses.

 

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