Nob 7, 2005

An Empty Lot Before the Curve

The swath of light climbs up the skyscraper
Around the corners of white prisms and spikes.
The inside torso stands up in a plug of gun-metal.
The shadow struggles to get loose from the light.
Shall I say I'm through and it's no use?
Or have I got another good fight in me?


"Evening Questions"
Carl Sandburg


November eight or nine. A row of resorts will pass, some road, then a funeral parlor, buko pie stands here and there, then come the boiled egg yellow facade of Olivarez. The bus will stop in front of this mall, a gas station where wait the jeeps that will take the curve: UP GATE.

But before this mall, some small buildings before the station, the bus will pass by a vacant lot the size of a classroom. The viridian grass marks a time that I did not even experience, nevertheless it is known to me: the greener days of Los Banos. This lot is the green shadow of rising cement. Off-center, I'll find a tree, short like one of those sidewalk trees, but lush, well-fed by a steady stream of gray carbon. A sign on the tree, and I will read it.

Sometimes it says glass-cutters. Other times, crude advertisements for vulcanizing shops. Once or twice, it spoke of keys and duplications. When I pass, this next time, this first time after five semesters of first times, will I bother to read it? Or will I sleep thirty seconds more and believe that it reads NO VACANCY?

There will be miles in that step from the bus. Too few of them will belong to the coming gate.