At last I fell to my knees
in the middle of the field
not because I was tired
but because my soul was burning
RUSSIAN FOLK SONG
In the real world people gather in crowds of sunshine on chilled spring mornings — smoking cigarettes, in hoods, cheap slacks, puffy sneakers always white, they joke and use words like words were meant to be used — direct, homely, getting from point A to point B — which is just what they are waiting for the bus that is free in this rural state to do, where cows out number people, and where busses cross over mountains.
MY LOVE. . .
wonders every winter-to-spring about a garden that grows on the way to town. This year she is worried about the man who plants and tends that garden every year. She hasn’t seen him at all out there working. Ground unplowed. She remembers him in the fall looking frail. There is a small pickup truck in the driveway. The gardener has no idea about my love’s thoughts. The space between the road and the house is maybe one hundred feet and within that space is a possible eden.
I adore the concentration! A woman walks on the sidewalk toward me and tries the locked door where I am waiting. We both hear the lock hold. We’re strangers but she looks at me and speaks as if I am the door, “No...Wait. Oh, wrong door.” She moves down fifteen feet to another door and where things work.
I climbed the cement stairway of the four-tier parking garage — on the first tier I met up with a man who carried a large box down the center of the stairs, and he apologized for this. On the second tier I came face to face with a cherry condition F-150 pickup, turquoise painted stem to stern. My dream truck. I hesitated awhile there and just looked. On the third tier a man I’ve seen before was rattling on the parking ticket machine dreaming of loose change, and on the top tier of the parking garage a blond ponytailed woman in a soft pink sweater was stopped in her tracks and offering no eye contact. As I politely stepped aside she softly murmured, “Sorry.” It’s sunny on the top. The pigeons like this place. A man was leaving his brand new car to fetch himself a ticket. Nobody up there on that moonscape except him and me and the creaking sounds of his parked car relaxing.
THERE HE IS. . .
Nosferatu, his figure, painted on the cement wall of the parking garage when you descend the stairs after crossing all the top tier, pigeons, full sunshine and all. At the very bottom he is waiting. . .
photo of Judy Dater's "Imogen and Twinka, Yosemite 1974"