A week ago I showed you the shadow of this painter's easel
at the Paint-Out at the Eagle (Idaho) Saturday Market.
Here is a better view of his painting on that same day.
I am sorry that I didn't geet his name.
IN THE ALLEY BEHIND MY HOUSE
Coming awake in the cool dark,
I hear a truck idling in the street
and suddenly I am back in a boy's room--
a day unfolding in the alley behind his house.
In torn undershirt and pants,
Elmer, his teeth newly uprooted, leans far out
over the third floor escape, unwinding
a long bright rope of blood.
It ripples in the wind like a gossamer web,
I stand below him
in the loading bins of the A&P,
knee-deep in spoiled greens,
hearing the hard thump
of Miller's sledge make Saturday's steak.
I'm waiting for rats to surface.
Elmer gags on his rope.
A truck door slams.
My window lightens into morning.
I rise and stretch into another day.
Closer by thirty years to heaven, I've learned
how steadily the eye shines with pain,
how stunningly the nerve's white avenues open out.
How did I reach this place?
Hand over hand,
as they said I would.
Collecting the Animals, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1972, 1999, page 44.
I don't know why it has taken me this long to find Peter Everwine!
This poem is in two stanzas only; the last stanza has eight lines.
I have corrected a typo in this printing by substituting "day" for "dey."
Somehow, we need to keep on painting and writing in the middle of all these giant preparations for an election still more than a year away!!!