When I get to the pool, the ballfield is still emptying.
Every boy makes his serious, woolgathering way back to his
father’s car. The world is his, his, his. Across the street,
the families are in their yards. The mothers bring
the garbage cans up from the curbs. Somewhere nearby,
a child practicing a trumpet sends a terrible sound
through an open window. After my swim, this will all be gone.
The parking lot will be empty. I know there is nothing
mystical about other people’s lives, that when we intrude on
their scenes it’s by accident and that the world can’t help but be in
progress. That the water seeps forgotten from the hose, that the drawn
shade bangs open, that the train crosses the field at dusk when
men are hauling hay into the barn, that as you walk
out to meet them the tall grass rustles first, then bends—
Susan Hutton recently held a Stegner Fellowship, and her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, DoubleTake, Crazyhorse, Epoch, and other magazines. They have also been selected by Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is director of development for the independent poetry publisher Autumn House Press. (updated 2004)