365 Degrees

Tom Johnson

Poetry Editor


Three day weekend

Holy in itself, the extra day. The saint
who outlines the body you lie down in again,
go back to sleep in without having to
go to sleep first, forgetting having to
remember. Monday not Monday, Sunday
still, stretched, pulled, Saturday two Saturdays,
racing, wild, chasing sirens, your time, in the fireman's seat.
Who died for this day? Remember, repeat
the name, hope as all the third days pile up,
saved to the end we could live forever.

Totem pole

The actor playing
Daddy Warbucks in a
touring company walks
past my house on his
way to the theatre.

He couldn't know I couldn't know "Annie"
was playing at the civic center.
A couple of good songs sung over
and over. What else is anybody?
"Tomorrow." I'd almost forgotten
how it creeps though lately the days had shown.
Fifty-, sixty-hour work weeks, a sign
is what's wanted, the clean shaven icon
tower denuded hair grows, or, falls, clear, that way
the past draws it, (or memory), mornings, days
when we read the paper, or had it read
to us and laughed. Punjab, Sandy, the red
dress, vacant pupils. Daddy. Arf was enough
all the other animals talked to break us up
Grown now, our own laps. No more cigars. Sweet puffs.

The light, driving home, dusk, along alternate highway 41 after hearing a friend, much touted, give a rotten reading

The light six in the evening and the time
of year March though not quite, more February
as if the month had leapt two days instead
of one the light like the light thrown up
by car headlights at dusk when the driver's not sure
he has them on the light ground mica, water,
advances against the intruding road,
a wave rising, eyes without lenses,
staring, quiet. The trees show no color
but relief winter is finished though nothing
has taken its place. There is swelling, a promise
that manifests itself in the horizon
as if time and nature had drawn a line
and forbade the solstice to step across.
The sky is darker, flatter than the earth,
lying the myth of its circumference. The land
draws in on itself, shrinking, a curious slate
from which all difference has been expunged. The sun
remembers nothing, is no longer light's source.
The light comes from the journey, not the place
we are going. The hill hides other cars
moving towards us, coming blind to the moment
when we pass and do not see. Tomorrow
forces the motion we lean into,
the road even the skilled cannot repair.
The light is earth's center, ours, the bloodless coup
of hope, morning at dusk, the past reduced again
and again to the unbearably sweet now.

Starkey Flythe, former managing editor of Saturday Evening Post and a former editor of Holiday, is from North Augusta. He has published award-winning poetry in may journals and has been a South Carolina Literature Fellow and an NEA Fellow in Prose. His collection of short stories, Lent: The Slow Fast, won the Iowa Short Fiction Award in 1989.

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© Copyright by POINT, 1995

Last modified 7/9/95