Travelogue Recorded in the Realm of Sorrow

The sorrows of pigeons and the sorrow of dry bread,
the sorrow of leaves as summer ends,
the sorrow of broken limbs, the ache

of aging, the asthma of bulldogs and the sorrows
of desertion: the weeping of mothers
and the hard grief

of streets, green sorrow on the cobblestones, you might
think it moss, you might think you are dying
but at this time you do not die,

you might think the end times are intent upon arrival:
the sorrow of a woman planting beans
in the garden,

the sorrow of bean sprouts in Styrofoam cups, the sorrow
of workboots scuffed up by men, the work of the ax,
the heave of the shovel:

the beauty and impermanence as October mans the trees,
the beauty of young men in the span of their shoulders,
the beauty and the sorrow

as you kiss the bare shoulders of the young man
you love, he is asleep with the sorrow of dogs,
he is asleep with the grief

of dry streets, the sorrow of the haze and one crow
in the sky, he is asleep,
while the wind

pins a dust devil up against a curb,
it remains in one place, it spins
in its dance,

just before the clarity and the kindness
of the sudden
falling rain.

Robert McDonald's poems have appeared in Court Green, Southern Poetry Review, Gertrude, and 42 Opus, among many others. He lives in Chicago, where he works as the buyer for an independent bookstore. He also the co-author of the book A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago. (robmc1002@yahoo.com)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761