Issue 71, Fall 1977
Calmly clouded Tuesday.
The chateau is closed.
We walk up the steps
The water usually falls down.
We circle the circular pool.
We picnic illegally with our forbidden charcuterie
Behind a hedge, and hide the package there
From tonight's rain and tomorrow's glitter.
I do not feel like Empress Someone slumming.
I do not feel like a maid on holiday.
I do not feel like Alice or like Chloe.
Content, we amble,
Pausing above a huge tiered lawn gone almost to meadow,
Beside a shallow canal which any other day
Might have looked cosmic.
Its two straight lines leading half a mile to nowhere,
Contained by two straight lines of poplars
Also leading nowhere—
Or everywhere, perhaps, when the sun is out.
We sit between the poplars and a bank
Watching the gray-brown surface reflect nothing,
Receive no shadows,
Allow the few brown carp pacing its length
To be seen whenever we can see them.
Halfway between Arcturus and a ditch,
Nothing vast and nothing vile,
Just a kilometer of quiet water by which to sit.