Robert Bohm


Late Afternoon

As when the clouds clear
and the air grows more naked,
she unbuttons her blouse and slowly
pushes it back, showing how her shoulders slope.
An intruder from the coast, who brings
city-made silk flowers as if they rivaled real ones,
none of this is meant for me.
The clouds that must disappear
in order for air and shoulders
to be revealed,
those are me.
When the snow has melted and spring sunlight
massages the meadow's body,
it means I'm gone, having left
before I actually got there.
Still, I'm homesick
as I eat a flounder sandwich at a rest stop
near where a man with longer beard than mine once wrote
"How sweet the backward silent tracings"
as he remembered cows on the Hempstead plains
and ice blocks in sheds more arcane
than the grass's imagination.
Unlike him, I have nothing to remember, only this:
a creek I never saw, a house I never entered, and an unseen woman's
a tundra stretching
beyond everything I know.