Out walking ties left over from a track
Where nothing travels now but rust and grass,
I could take stock in something that would pass
Bearing down Hell-bent from behind my back:
A thing to sidestep or go down before,
Far off, indifferent as that curfew's wail
The evening wind flings like a sack of mail
Or close up as the moon whose headbeam stirs
A flock of cloud to make tracks. Down to strafe
Bristle-backed grass a hawk falls—there's a
Of steel wrenched taut till severed. Out of
Or else beneath desiring, I go safe,
Walk on, tensed for a leap, unreconciled
To a dark void all kindness.
When I spill
The salt I throw the Devil some and, still,
I let them sprinkle water on my child.
From Cross Ties: Selected Poems
(University of Georgia
Press, 1985), copyright
(c) 1985 by X. J. Kennedy.
For permission to
reprint, transmit by internet, or for
purpose, address Curtis Brown Ltd., Ten
Place, New York, NY 10003.