Walking Out


Small breasts & slender waist in a striped
jersey dress, hers is the pear shape magazines
say leads to a long life. When she walks off

the passenger bus, her legs are sturdy, likewise
her hips. This woman could wander country miles,
haversack strapped to her back.

You, on the other hand, with your bad habits
of reading sad poems & letting your mind wander,
will never trek the Appalachian Trail or take

a Tibetan walking tour. You’ll wait for traffic lights
to change, scribble “epiphany” in notebooks, insist
it’s the personal & only the personal that matters.

A woman boards a passenger bus a country mile from
Kandahar. Her legs are sturdy, likewise her hope
for a long life, though just as easily, American troops

will waste this bus with magazine fire, a tragic loss of life.
You might strap slender hope to your breast, insist the
world splits into feet & inches. You could wait here, count

the I I I I I s on the ceiling, palimpsest of dying & living.
Or, on the other hand, walk out of this wayward American
century into loosestrife, dandelion, wild pear.

It could be that simple, couldn’t it.