Sitting in the Drake
I have no new myths for fat, yellow colunins
and a discarded Baedeker at the Drake.
The stories I fall upon are old and distant,
not mine nor my family’s nor my culture’s.
A wolf went out swimming far from shore
and had to be rescued by men in a canoe.
They carried him back to their village
where he stayed and hunted with them.
I stole that memory from totem poles
and house posts of southwestern Alaska.
Tomorrow, I’ll steal laments from Tu Fu.
In the overstuffed armchair opposite,
a young woman; bare throat, blouse
thrown on, bony face; reads a best-seller
probably purchased at the newspaper stand.
In it an older man befriends children
in rest stops, outside police stations,
and invites them out for fatherly advice.
He ran the child against the window
and, tired, after exerting all his strength,
stepped over the windowsill through
the splintered wood and glass.
I remembered that sentence because
it said something I didn’t want to hear,