Departure, by Martin Willitts Jr

by Martin Willitts Jr

What seems like departure
is really a movement to another place:
whether to a city
or beyond the invisible horizon.
It is the next arrival.
Does a person head towards the elusive
or the predetermined?
Will there be a better obtainment of light?
Or abundant darkness?

I have been on the move
like a nomad for a long time,
putting up temporary camps,
taking out stakes, rubbing my hands
barely on the surface — just enough
so memory never adheres to them.
I know about disquieting places
in the head, in the body, in the toss
of dreams shaken loose from nowhere.

I have observed the Eros of destructiveness.
I have seen war
and how bodies can spool out while dying
like wrens. Their blood hangs like fruit
of wracked trees, yet still
countries are drawn into war
like it was a cesspool.

Today, a train pulled away
carrying people to their appointments
with tragedy. The heavy engine of grief
took a while to gain speed, then it left
behind schedule, trying to make up time
and distance. A person on the platform
waved goodbye, although the train
was further away than memory.

The passenger inside could see only ahead
where the future came near, then sped into the past.
The middle is always present and changing,
fixed and unhinged like wing beats.

Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian. He has over 20 chapbooks and over 10 full-length collections. His forthcoming full-lengths include The Uncertain Lover (Dos Madras Press) and The News From the Slow Country (Aldrich Press).


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