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Modus Operandi


The curtains drawn, all rectangles are blue.
Four morning pigeons wheel in the school glue.
I hate the treacherous light of December.
Cold. I eat pumpkin soup out of the blender.

The central heating grumbles: “You, get out.”
Right. I put on my coat and off I go
where the salted red herring of the pavement
waits for the imminent snow.

Trot, trot along, you, unbuttoned biped,
across a skeleton of rusty tracks, with others
clutching in hand their steamy paper cups-
their secular candles.

March—ein, zwei, drei—under a crescent sun,
like numbers to infinity, ahead
through all the painted hallways of the town,
through all the scheduled winters of the world,

through all the bleaching mornings of the year
to where the distant clock chimes in the square-
whether to add up or to disappear
in the empire of digits, paying your fare.

This poem appeared in the May 3, 2004, issue of the magazine.