Saturday, February 5, 2011

Highway 17

There is a waterfall in nearly every Provincial Park in Canada.
A gnome keeps his workshop under glass in the visitor center.
An actor and an archeologist trudge down the stairs
for photographers and those sorts of people.
They have left Highway 17 to find the gold in Rainbow Falls.
The gnome knows nothing of gold. He is busy making wheels
and pipe cleaners and other sorts of things by the water rushing
and his hammer threshing. He is busy winnowing the spokes
for the wheel of a wheelbarrow he will use to haul pipe cleaners
and water bug fossils and other sorts of things.
Out of the corner of his eye he sees the actor and the archeologist.
He knows he has seen one of them in a reflecting pool somewhere
although he cannot remember the cavern.
     Faster than a fox trap eluded,
he hammers out an epigram to send the two of them on their way
to the next waterfall. Then he hastily breaks camp and twists
three pipe cleaners into a wind chime.


We follow the map from Mattoon to Olney,
the renowned home of the white squirrel.
We check the business district. We keep a lookout
through neighborhoods of modest homes.
     We search high and low.
Our map is no currency in this strange land
of the white squirrel. We circle the block
two more times feeling cheated. Finally,
we slow down to 5 M/P/H on a side street.
Low and behold who should cross the street
but a diplomat of that rare permutation -
the Olney white squirrel.
He keeps the claim to fame of his small town alive.

The Bluest Eye

I stand in the grass and photograph the Walldog pines.
The penguin figurines are now quarter size penguins
in a winter when football games are going on in a restaurant.
     Dad started the tradition of taking self-portaits.
I walk to the end of the pier with my bicycle
and photograph it in front of the lighthouse.
The visitor center overlooks Lake Michigan.
Now a storm moves in. It's beautiful the way it is now.
I find The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison at Door to Door Books.
The foghorn resonates in the sudden change of weather.
I hear the sound of my tires a few feet in front of my stem
on the rails to trails path. It's sixteen miles to Sturgeon Bay.
I hope to hug the coast, take a side road inland, and pick cherries.
One ship was lost, but all were safe. They carried fencing and grain.
Saw only red, green, or whatever color the signals are out there.