NOTE: Recent publications include poems in The American Journal of Poetry, Calliope, (forthcoming, spring 2020,) Innisfree Poetry, Juniper, and Nightshades, a full-length collection, (forthcoming fall, 2020). Analects has just been released, which is the fifth book of prose. I live in Tucson with my wife, Jane Catharine, a water colorist. Our son, Chris lives in L.A. and writes for screen.
High Noon at the Stanley
There has been discord traveling
Through the mountains
In midsummer, my son
Remains in the car, fourteen and angered
By everything. I have crossed
The wide lawn of sculptured light
Through the heavy domes of clouds
To a table on the grand porch
With its fluted columns, gold acanthus leaves.
My wife walks the grounds to collect her mind.
We have arrived by troubled coincidence
And exhaustion. Every state has something
Like this, a refuge at higher elevations.
Hummingbirds arrive. I consider the menu,
Poached salmon, white wine.
Estes Park, a postcard vista, layers
Of blue hills falling away into mist,
Quiet news of a summer shower later
Out on the mountain roads.
My family has been away long enough
I have found time
For a few lines of my own.
The architecture of this hotel
Is the architecture of language itself,
A solace of structured wood and sun,
And all that is outside of this
Is the confusion that fails the mind.
The prosperous converse on the lawn,
The best of their day, discussing things,
While their replacements, the student waiters
In white aprons and black ties share plans
For the weekend as the far trees move
On those blue hills, as those hills themselves move
Toward all that is accepted like Roman stoics
In the light that is cold and hard,
Where the best tutors of the speechless live,
Where the truly good cannot be tragic.
© 2019 Michael Gessner
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