Different Trains

Paul Hoover

An alarm shakes meaning, but a leaf
suggests a theory. For instance,

the pleasure you feel pouring a gallon
of milk onto the lawn. Sheltered from

consciousness like water from a stone.
The number four confined by nouns.

Like a drug leaking into your system,
the pleasures of a story recently begun.

The habit of arriving later than the sea.
Evidence is. The science of balance.

In those sketches, the audible work
of targets. Snagged in brightness,

a concrete ball whose intensity is suspense.
The lyrical landscape and brutal facts

of life depart from different stations.
Isolated fires are radiant yet distressing.

As solid yet scattered as factories
and glass, this alters your intentions

in undesireable ways. The shyness of boxers
as they face each other to fight,

a beast that eats itself, the radical depth
of your indifference, bird aggressively

singing, sleep inside a sleeve.
Desire descends the stairs in a burlesque

fashion. In the embarrassed silence,
you can hear the muffled sound of windows.

Contiguous states shadowed by death, sex,
hunger, and boredom. Fathers as monsters.

Mothers as saints. The cold wind on your
sweating face as you watch the grass

plunge. The romantic equation changes.
A weightlifter falls in leafsmoke halls.

It's difficult to say which is more ironic:
the world of events or inner world of snow.

Sooner or later, you tire of gravitation,
the weight of circumstance, and the tortures

of resemblance. To know is to scatter.
When exaggeration becomes a private life,

a generation raised entirely in the dark
might comprehend the sinew and bone

of creation. Not to mention "the final
real things of which the world is made."

Painting's dark side. Nothing that isn't.
Its rivers bright with lamps, heavy

with the chase, when they were both
the same, in that romantic chasm,

in the arms of overcoats, on bare
scrubbed land, undone by days of sun.

Facing inward, idols line the coast.
You spend the afternoon raking money

into piles. At landscape's edge,
winter radiates from the branches of trees,

a chill reminder of quiet children.
Beneath the bridge, story's hero sleeps.

Your legs are numb as that. In a hoarse
whisper, something about our history.

It's hard to push blood back into a wound.
A note on the window shines like a leaf.

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