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NOT JUST ANYWHERE / Eugene Richie Snow is on the hills and trees that surround This little town lost in sleep and dream. The low sun Is burning in the black silhouettes of branches. A stillness hangs over the sloping ridges, but it seems As if at any moment a strange forgotten sound Like the eerie cry of a myna bird in some dim-lit tavern Might emerge from beneath that fir tree which candidly Links the earth to the sky. The yellow windows of a three-story house Welcome the approaching mist rising out of a distant blue Valley. Is there also a music suspended Over the smooth snow-packed surface of the yard Or has it already reached the red and green traffic lights Which glow in the silver winter evening Like beacons frozen in time? I am not sure where you are going; rivers sometimes Flow with the tide, but there is no river in this burg. So you cannot walk into it at the same place twice, Even if you once thought you could. Perhaps you will stop here, Though I don't know why you should bother; all the buildings Are tilted and the streets go up and down. But you don't have to pump your own petrol At the station which sells "Major Brand Gas." Way out along the highway, other yellow lights Glitter in the wake of the silent blue air, But you don't have to worry about them now. They will be there tomorrow night Unless the rain washes them away, Taking with it that calm countryside Over which my eyes have so often wandered On my way home from another town which some say 180 · The Missouri Review Resembles this one, though you certainly don't agree Or you wouldn't have lingered so long at the diner Over your navy bean soup and coffee. Why, even the waitress, in her black dress and whitelace Apron and cap, has begun to wonder If you are ever going to leave. But don't let me deter you from the course you have chosen To take. It's only a rare and fleeting moment you are Looking for and you might find it somewhere along the road You have left behind you or the one that stretches out In front of you, cutting across the blue-gray snow Like the trail of a cross-country caravan Which passed this way long before you arrived. Eugene Richie The Missouri Review · 181 ...


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pp. 180-181
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