That day I hired a private detective to follow me,
and could not read his notes. In a tangled grove,
I hid behind white pines, compressed my body,
then watched him write, left-handed and myopic,
under an Irish cap, when I asked for help
from strangers who spoke Slavic languages.
Wary, moving ahead, I found a depot,
watched an immense train churn, haloed in steam,
and boarded, second class. I had no ticket,
and my expired passport represented
a drooping head with unfamiliar eyes.
Unshaken, rows behind, the stranger waited,
wielding camera and pen. Across the border
I disembarked, but knew he would capture me,
with soundless footsteps, even on black gravel.
I tried to recall my crime. I know I am guilty,
but never why. Lawless, I have ignored
those signs: WRONG WAY; GO BACK and NO WAY OUT,
circles that tell me YOU ARE HERE. I gather
it is the whispers that explode, the looks
that make dogs whimper. When I bow in prayer
I think of love; I know I’ve killed my friends,
pelting them with a touch—and yet I’ve heard
they are alive. Besides, that’s not the real
offense. I would cross any path, or trek
through swamps to find my crime. But even he,
that bald, insistent man who follows me,
unsleeping, cannot tell me what I’ve done.