This is an old poem that showed up in my first novel. I don’t write poetry anymore, but this one came to mind recently. I used to re-write this one obsessively, using it as a warm-up exercise or literary tic. Perhaps its resurfacing has to do with the impending publication of the new book and the “Jovian skies” line below.
The Disappearance of Charles Du Pont
We drove two hours against flat planes,
doubt-filled nothingness where the truckers died,
to where he stood alone in the morning fog,
and bent his hat toward the tired universe.
“We need you,” they all had said.
He rubbed his temples raw.
“We love you,” they all had said.
He whistled into his coat.
“You forget,” he said.
“One day, every part of me will die.”
And he raised his eyebrows,
the only goodbye he knew.
There was nothing now
between him and infinity
between train whistles and Jovian Skies
cabbages and kings.
“I’m a selfish man,” he told me.
An epitaph for gods en route,
off to where the track rails intersect
and the ground crashes into the sky.