Hazy Alley Incident

Eugene, OR

Girl shouting Oliver! at the top of the cut-through
by Jacob’s Gallery, you have now entered
the slenderest of histories, the skin-bound book
I store between my temples; in that mean
and moonless city, you must hang fraught
in your too-long coat, not a winner, but placed,
and in this cutty version of forever, forever
calling on your unseen beau, one flake in
a limbic blizzard, one spark in the synaptic blaze.
And now the rain turns, light but going steady
on the Willamette. Along the bank, I lift my pace
from devil-may-have-me to heading-somewhere
and still your mouth in the haze calling is
a ruby carbuncle woken by a miner’s head-beam,
the reddest berry in the hedgerow, which all
but the bird in the fable know not to pluck.

More Poems by Roddy Lumsden