Paperweight

If it comes to that, I suppose I could see taking a train
to the limit of a night’s ride, uncomfortable, sitting up
all hours, with the rocking of the carriage an undersong
that would never become a nocturne, the unmoving air,
whiffs of stale luggage and stubbed-out cigarettes—how
sad the telephone wires stretching away absentmindedly,
chair a hard green, a neighbor’s open-mouthed breathing,
the relic of a newspaper splayed on the floor, shoes off,
there a lake suddenly and then gone, now some trees;

if it comes to that, I suppose I could dim the overhead
and close my eyes, returning to the ruined city that I love,
flitting over parapets and rooftops, then alighting to gaze
through a window—a man at his desk, fist on a sheaf
of paper: paperweight of blood and bone, rapture, grief.

Brian Culhane

Brian Culhane

Brian Culhane’s poems have appeared in such journals as The Paris Review, The Hudson Review, Plume, Parhelion, and Blackbird. His first book, The King’s Question (Graywolf), won the Poetry Foundation’s Emily Dickinson Award; his second, Remembering Lethe, is forthcoming from Able Muse Books. Retired from teaching, he now divides his time between Seattle and New York.
Brian Culhane

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Author: Brian Culhane

Brian Culhane’s poems have appeared in such journals as The Paris Review, The Hudson Review, Plume, Parhelion, and Blackbird. His first book, The King’s Question (Graywolf), won the Poetry Foundation’s Emily Dickinson Award; his second, Remembering Lethe, is forthcoming from Able Muse Books. Retired from teaching, he now divides his time between Seattle and New York.