In the evening, trees silhouette like shattered veins,
white of blood and first light’s frost.
I find Jasper, at last, still humming
with all the day’s reverberations.
It has been a month, this time,
since I lay two nights in one bed,
and the night sky has been over-
-shadowed with rain, then snow.
Even the stars have hidden their faces.
My Marlin, my only companion,
I have made it this way; I have
slipped out quiet, on nights like this;
I have come to black corridors and choked roads,
to find myself alone.
The night is for running, is sought for empty ears;
I am finding my bed of nails
where I can bleed out all my wasted years.
In Jasper, I make my stable in the rail yard,
under a star of lamplight
intruding through a twisted tree.
I am interred in stacks of wool,
but cold as death as I turn in my seat.
The train arrives at half-past one,
and I try to keep from rising, keep
my eyes from the light and the fury of life.
I awake in the lot of a hotel – Fargo, North Dakota –
flinching under batteries of empty lights.
It is still night, but Fargo is lit up like
Christmas or oil refineries.
The city is dead as black leaves.
I am alive.
Marlin is left in the lot and I find
a jacket to buy, to wander through
the silent kingdom of white,
to sink through banks of slush.
Even the stars are unveiled,
but the night is silent, the snow
steals my voice, a chamber of silence.
I run the engine, cold from sitting,
past the spires of useless light,
towards a darker night to rest in,
the plains of Minnesota,
stretching into obsolescence.
The sky is only lit by stars;
a bruise of night, lies on the skin of the earth.
To my right, a train is running across the plains.
I hear it following, for a spell,
like a black stampede of cars.
Across the East horizon, stars
have been giving up their ghostly light
to a hint of ocean’s deepest blue.
The blind waves are beating against the breakwater,
and I seem to be pulling out of Tulum, on the edge of Yucatan.
The tequila bars are closed,
and I swerve around a pair of drunken cyclists.
Two, and no matter where I find myself,
I know that I am alone.
I might shout a prayer at the silent sky,
but I know it would swallow me whole.
The echo of my scattered hymn
would die on the worlds tongue.
So I turn the key on Marlin. She
coughs and slows to silence
at the edge of the ocean-boundary road.
The ocean is taunting me, tonight:
it has no need of meaning in its rhythm;
a pattern of endless waves is its only grand design.
The last stars are falling out of view.
I sit on on Marlin’s hood and wait for the morning.
Soon I will turn her back to the road;
I will rest below Abraham’s Lake, at noon.