The Canyon in Winter

Book into one of the cheap motels
arranged like horseshoes by the roadside,
where you can sleep among clean sheets
stained with the reflection of snow.
Then in the morning, catch a coffee at a student bar,
and relish the friendliness
of that small mountain town,
witnessing, if you like, the coming down of the barrier
as the freight train shuffles through,
easy-going, on its way.
Likewise, take your time to drive there.
Tune in to a country station,
or pick up the commentary designed to pull you
by the ears to the very edge of it.
In the final Circle K
you can stock up on sandwiches and yet more coffee,
and then set off through the low, expectant forest
over the cattle grids like sleeping harps.
All around you’ll hear, if you listen,
the deep, snow-blind silence
that only deer and elk can truly comprehend
behind their gloomy fringe of pine,
a silence that is always waiting,
waiting for History to play itself out,
for the old Indian time to reassert itself, despite us.
And then suddenly there it will be:
the grand inconsolable negative,
the immense relief.
All you can do is take it all in
and watch your breath peddling frantically above it
like the stranded soul of Wile E. Coyote.

###

A Change of Scenery

When I came out of the metro mouth
onto the Passieg de Gracia,
the broadest, most sun-loved street in Barcelona,
the world above ground seemed colder
and more remote than under it.
The sky was dreamy blue
but didn’t seem to match the buildings,
which were like the dark clippings
of some troubled creative child.
I thought, I must write home
about the weird Spanish autumn.
Then I saw a woman with a pair of paper glasses.
She was standing on an island
between humped waves of traffic
ground to a glacial halt.
But the tips of her hair were alive
like a batch of baby eels.
In fact the whole street was lined
with these standing seers,
and the darker it got,
the brighter their edges became,
even the fibers of their jumpers.
Meanwhile an ominous plane
left its vaporous trail in the eye of the sun,
making it blink its long lashes for a moment.

####

Andrew Pidoux is the author of Year of the Lion (Salt, 2010) and the winner of an Eric Gregory Award (1999) and the Crashaw Prize (2009). Recent poems of his have appeared in African American Review, Pacific Review, and Raintown Review, stories in The Birds We Piled Loosely, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, and Turk’s Head Review, and comics in Forge and Wilderness House.

Photo by Jonah M (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMotel_Reno_(774563626).jpg) via Wikimedia Commons.