Home > Poetry > Exodus
Published: Sun Jul 1 2007
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

As was forecast, the windows hold the fingerprints
that blotted them yesterday; the fence keeps
each plank at attention, the chimneys usher through
the ghost of wood. On certain days I’d hope
for the bricks to thump out of their mortar, primed
for a higher course. For the porch pillars to stalk off
their platforms, shrugging at the collapse; for any mass
rebellion of the quiet functioning things. Instead,

the juncos wallow and thrash in gutters all over town,
even in my gutters, with their holes larger than eye sockets
weeping wet rust. Like a great plot, the pipes and wires push,
the pavement trills with our going, the street signs point everyone
silently and usefully onward. I’d be on my way, walking barefoot
toward the coast, but who would ferry my boat? Would it be small,
wooden, painted blue? How would I know it was mine.

K. A. Hays is the author of four books of poetry, including Anthropocene Lullaby (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2022). Hays teaches at Bucknell University and directs the Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets. (updated 4/2022)


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