Samuel Wharton


     Town Lake, Austin TX

first real day of fall    walking the trail
along the lake & the two-week-long chain
of monarchs swirling past    like the leaves
we don't get around here    ook
there are joggers   gravel crunching
under feet    bike wheels     strollers
walkers just enjoying the day   a woman
slowly sauntering down into the reeds
the muddy thickets between the cedar roots
to the water's edge   it's that scene in any movie:
the silent minds in the audience pleading   Stop
her! Someone stop her!     as a string of extras
just keeps flowing by     only her there are
none of the cues knowledge of her intent
requires     no swelling soundtrack
no accumulated close-ups of her wild eyes
no tragic back story     & by the time I've supplied
all this myself     thought about how good
a scene it could have been     we're a half-
mile down the path     & it's too late
to go back now     sometimes there's no way
one could know anything anyway
it seems the butterflies are sinking south     sinking
into the warmth of the tropics     & all I know
is I fear my turn to turn to dust     insects
serve a purpose on this earth     & each day
holds its place until the next     & every framing shot
gives way to heated action     so all must find
a niche     but then: to give it up?

Samuel Wharton's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Concher, Death Metal Poetry , elimae, foam:e, Memorious, NOÖ Journal , Otoliths, & Outside Voices' 2008 Anthology of Younger Poets. He is the author of a chapbook, Welcome Home, available from NeOPepper Press, & the editor of the online poetry journal Sawbuck.

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