Friday, September 25, 2009



Cold nights outside the taverns
in Wyoming
pickups and big semis lounge idling,
letting their haunches twitch
now and then in gusts of powder snow,
their owners inside for hours, forgetting
as well as they can the miles,
the circling plains, the still town
that connects to nothing but cold
and space and a few stray ribbons
of pavement, icy guides to nothing
but bigger towns and other taverns
that glitter and wait:
Denver, Cheyenne.

Hibernating in the library
of the school on the hill
a few pieces by Thomas Aquinas
or Saint Teresa
and the fragmentary explorations
of people like Alfred North Whitehead
crouch and wait amid research folders
on energy and military recruitment
posters glimpsed by the hard stars.
The school bus by the door, a yellow
mound, clangs open and shut as the wind
finds a loose door and worries it
all night, letting the hollow
students count off
and break up and blow away
over the frozen ground.

William Stafford

Posted over on Poetry Foundation
William Stafford, “Accountability” from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems.

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