Early Poetry 1967-1971

In line
A boy,
generally tall and in most ways blond,
waits just ahead of me
in line.

(God knows why or for what
we’re waiting.
We wait only because the line
seems endless and forever durable.)

He smokes damply and quickly
between his teeth,
while I, whistling through my Kleenex,
read a poem upsidedown.

And we are next to each other
and very close.

Then he disappears
into his indefinite world
leaving behind delicate ashes
dropped from the orange end
of his tremulous cigarette.

He is gone and unimportant.
But I watch the ashes die
on the idle, vinyl floor
and I am frightened

because all I will ever know
of that boy
is the uncertain memory of his form
and the dust of his ashes.

October 12, 1966

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