In Vermont in January in the parking lot of a bar that used to be a cow barn 50 years
ago. In New Hampshire along a stretch of road that went on forever, no matter what
season it was or what kind of car you were driving or where your destination happened
to be. Further north, in Maine in early Fall, where you were suffocating in an historic
inn with your family. In Annandale, NY, and Avon, Connecticut. On long walkways on
college campuses at night. Scurrying along those same paths in the morning. The
jumbled pattern of dorms and big square brick buildings, crushed into a few very green
acres of lawn. Suffocating in those classrooms. In cafeterias at any age; anywhere
people lined up and waited for food they could put on a tray. Anywhere you had to pay
at the end of the line.
In your grandfather's boat docked at night. After dinner when the adults were all drunk
on the way to Montreal or in an airplane, flying back from Washington D.C. sitting next
to an Albany politician with your son strapped onto your lap before he could walk.
The blank gray times in between, when you couldn't hear crickets. Rain. A single voice
chanting in a foreign language. Before you could speak. It had something to do with
words; and how that meant that you were separate from the other objects. And
things would not come to you, necessarily, because you cried; even things you needed.
Never when you expected it—a whole new world opening up.
In the dead times too. In drudgery-filled days the inexplicable change would seep in
between nine to five in linoleum hallways or in supply closets where they stored industrial
In the farmhouse in Vermont on a dark staircase. Looking up at the ceiling of the first
kitchen I remember. Leaning my head back into the sink while my mother takes the sink
sprayer and rinses my hair, then puts a towel over my eyes and scalp and shakes my
head around saying, "Where's Lynn? Where's Lynn?"
Author Discusses Poems