Phaeton’s dropped the ball here and it’s permanent three o’clock and the honeycombing bugs in the lavender are droning on about all the things that come back on the back of a scent, as a petalriding wind or a hero working a spinnaker, taking whatever tack aims him toward an old home that cannot, will not, be home any more, not after what he has seen, not after what they’ve made him do.
The volatile oils the waving lavender wands exude, here at the height of June, are said to be powerful anxiolytics; bring sleep, erase whatever is keeping you twisting between those sheets. They speak of magic, of spells of forgetting. As if that’s not enough, the lindens are out in force on this avenue and whatever those trees think they’re doing, I highly doubt they mean to make anything go away.
They want us to master hang-time, to understand we’ll swing for this; they’d draw you a hangman on a chalkboard in your mind’s old schoolroom if they could. The word beneath would be MOVE, but you wouldn’t. Down at the Civic Club a boy sets the keel of a basswood boat on the lake’s shallows, imagining a quest whose end is an end to questions. He doesn’t have a clue that answers weigh more than his vessel could bear, that its paper jib would tear at the slightest infraction. And I’d tell him, but like those secrets you think you’re keeping, he isn’t mine to tell. [End Page 42]
Under the lindens, shadow branches web the pavement into an aperiodic tessellation. Its claim is that nothing can truly be repeated. Talk about a hyperbolic geometry—tile all the Tilia twigs into jagged interlocking projections. No peace. Just pieces. Nothing moves. Not the sun, not the lindenwood boat on the lake, late for a miniature Ogygia where a scaled-down nymph is waiting to make plain that we’re stuck good and proper. Hey: I’m past saving now and past coming home to. Don’t buy the new bed, you’ll just put your back out again bringing it upstairs. And the strata of perfume, the rising mist of lavender, the original purple haze, and the lake-water funk and the brutal honey dripping from the lindens—they are speaking of anguish and pointless toil and never truly getting where you need to be, no matter how sound your craft. [End Page 43]
AMY GLYNN’s work appears in journals and anthologies including The Best American Poetry. Her book A Modern Herbal was published by Measure Press in 2013. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.