Issue 129, Winter 1993
On this small island that undoes us daily,gently,
It’s hard to take too seriously, too intently
A town whose name means town
(As well as country, land, and nation—
Exemplary synecdoche, one notes, even on vacation),
And which has just two buses
(One labors to and from the gritty port,
The other struggles to and from the smaller, higher town),
Each of which, when seen,
As usually, from a hill, inching up a slope or down,
Appears a cross between a donkey and a windup toy.
In cans, no less, the ferry brings in gasoline . . .
(It’s hard, too, not to think of you in such outskirts . . . )
The gates to miniature courtyards
Before the two-room houses are just two feet high.
The bent and agèd widow in black crêpe,
Her groceries at her hip (as no doubt in her heart a sigh),
Must almost stoop to open them.