Autumn 2000


William Heyen



I sit in a new Ford,
my hands on the wheel.
Scent of leather & perfumed oil.

Through its tinted windshield,
past a bay window, birds
silhouette a powerline,

maybe a hundred starlings,
until I blink: I'm in the car-wash,
pushed or pulled along,

no need to steer
through the sudsy light.
Rubber leaves appear

from everywhere at once, then
toucans & birds of paradise
in streaks of flight; soon,

one huge flamingo glistening
on my hood.... Tell me, pal,
if these are forms

of compensation for the world
lost in our exhaust,
what's next? The mind's

eye in our heart won't
always remember, will it?...
From this carrel

I study condors released
back into wilderness winds
from which they'd disappeared

after millions of years--
my mind seems to soar
over mountain valleys

with clouds & raptors.
Gene-mote cars stream
capillary highways clogged

with roadkill, but a feathery
spray of wax & I'm
released to the travel dream

we didn't invent & can't quite
seem to claim,
for human time to come.

William Heyen has had poems in recent issues of Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly Review, Ohio Review, Ontario Review, Coffee House I (England), and Maverick (online). A story, "The Babies," appears in the current issue of Witness. His books Erika and The Host: Selected Poems are in print with Time Being Books; Crazy Horse in Stillness--winner of 1997's Small Press Book Award for Poetry--and Pig Notes & Dumb Music: Prose on Poetry are published by BOA. He lives in Brockport, New York.




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