Ed Roberson

(1948 / Pittsburgh / United States)

A Slim Volume Taken Into The Provinces - Poem by Ed Roberson

I have to leave early in the dark
and hungry to avoid
crossing the snow as the noon
burns the crust
into an un-servable lake
slush instead of the crisp bridge
that would be in order
to get me over the ridge
My journal is already laundered clean
of my words and my instructions
have dissolved
into a white mash a washed bone
ball rolled into itself
of all I have in the world in my pocket
The ink is thin the paper is poor
my eyes balance on the pale
words around which a stream
flows almost erasing
the way across
the idea
Shadows the black flowers
of the light self
-sowing through the trees
dark gardens of midnight
for the gray-white morning
hour of blindness
in print miles before I am
to arrive here
To approach the waiting milestone
dims whatever else of its lantern
‘til only the placed light there is on me.
In this light barely but used to it
I can make out the staggered columns of my account
as if back through weren't the real distance:
the thin chest flag pinned on by each ridge
the titled introduction taking your coat each storm.
My letters and ribbons have been the natural—
strengths on their way to the more—
natural weaknesses— and loss. yet—
I wonder where I thought I was going—
to 've done what you must pass
examinations for before I took any.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Poem Edited: Tuesday, April 1, 2014

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