The Volta

It is a little over a mile each way,
dappling sidewalks punctuated
by tree roots and cobbled street pavers;
up to Chimborazo and the old war hospital.
The road ends as it did back then:
at Oakwood– a mile, as i have said, to the gates,
threading a future through the laces
of my worn out running shoes. Touching
fingertips to the stone arch, i turn
& say not today, re-turning to eke
on with whatever of existence
is given in the next twenty-four,
until tomorrow, when i again
run this little-over-a-mile heavy-
footed dream, a Nike pre-swoosh,
arriving late: i have thrown away
more chances yet than i have claimed,
boiled what is left down to this little-
over-a-mile and the gates where,
one Saturday long ago, i saw an owl
in sunlight perched on a granite cross.

grandfather on God and Richmond, right-justified

 

………. I’m not sure about God.
I’ve seen too much of ugliness for it
to be intentional,
………. too much
of beauty for it     not to be.
……….  ………. Take,

for example,
……………….. the downtown silhouette
from across the Manchester Bridge
on a winter’s early evening, the
moon just shy of full,     blushing
behind lit twelfth-storey windows, the soul-eyes
of a city half-wrapped in rivermist
and dinner plans, grinning teeth
of January jack-o’-lanterns reflecting
over rock and rapid.
……………….. Or
Fourteenth and Main
on a rainy rush hour,     drops
………. spilling river-ward through traffic light
and streetlamp, tires
leaving splashmarks across
the footprint of cavalry and

………………………… slave.

Better yet, walk    with    me
through the whispers
at Belle Island, where the voices of fallen prisoners
haunt the college kids sunning like
………. sea lions out over the self-same
rocks. (Have you seen what they feed them in those cafeterias lately?)

……………….. When autumn comes,
the waters will rise in waves, creeping up
………. on the empty beer cans and cigarette
……………….. packs, washing them down
past Chapel Isle and the ruins of the Confederate boatyard
as the river     runs         home.

………………………….. When
I’m dying,
take me to the old hospital
where McGuire’s successors taught
medicine with stolen bodies;     no
chain-linkedSaint-named designer cure
for this gentlesoul.            Andwhen

I’m dead
take me to
Hollywood
………. and a spot
……………….. where I can see the river
………. from a grave
without a cross:
I’m still
not too sure about God.