Issue > Poetry
Tricks of the Eye
Distant now, my brother ambles
south down the railroad tracks
that narrow to a point or seem to
disappear, as he does, by noon,
until he's no longer a man, from denim
jacket to shimmer to absence.
A train is coming. I move to the side.
I hope he moves aside too.
After the train, a dragonfly falls
in frenetic spasms on its back,
a death rattle between the tracks,
and its shudders weaken to twitches
until it is no longer an insect, the wind
alone seeming to flutter its wings now.
A front is rolling in. I look to the sky.
And now the dragonfly has gone.
On my walk to work in the morning,
I stop on the bridge high over the river,
compelled as a child to drop something in:
twig or penny, a dragonfly wing
or my brother's button, some parcel of self.
The river takes everything from me.
At its delta downstream I have collected
as a swirl of disparate parts.