Poetry Issue 15

   Issue #17 : July-December 2012

Elizabeth Willis

Valet of The Shadow of Death

      Welcome to our treasured island
      seized from the tribe
      of enemy combatants
      who nursed us through
      the winter of 1642

      This heap of shoes
      This copper beech
      This highway butter

      This featureless cottage
      about to be filled
      with “genuine antiques”
      This track into milkweed
      seen from the ground

      This monumental train
      that thought it could
      replace the barge
      before it got choked out
      by interstate
      trying to protect
      inalienable piracy

      Planes thrown down
      like lightning
      Lightning thrown
      like a glove

      This eye is not a camera
      passing through
      the comb-like trees

      This theory with its
      problematic central arc
      will be for sale
      when the poem is over

      This is the end
      of the bike path

      The moving sidewalk
      is about to end
      with the future on it
      loaded with blankets
      looking for a place to lie down

      (Originally appeared in The Nation and used by permission of the author.)