Wallace Stevens On His Way To Work by David Wagoner

He would leave early and walk slowly
As if balancing books
On the way to school, already expecting
To be tardy once again and heavy
With numbers, the unfashionably rounded
Toes of his shoes invisible beyond
The slope of his corporation. He would pause
At his favorite fundamentally sound
Park bench, which had been the birthplace
Of paeans and ruminations on other mornings,
And would turn his back to it, having gauged the distance
Between his knees and the edge of the hardwood
Almost invariably unoccupied
At this enlightened hour by the bums of nighttime
(For whom the owlish eye of the moon
Had been closed by daylight), and would give himself wholly over
Backwards and trustingly downwards
And be well seated there. He would remove
From his sinister jacket pocket a postcard
And touch it and retouch it with the point
Of the fountain he produced at his fingertips
And fill it with his never-before-uttered
Runes and obbligatos and pellucidly cryptic
Duets from private pageants, from broken ends
Of fandangos with the amoeba chaos chaos
Couchant and rampant. Then he would rise
With an effort as heartfelt as a decision
To get out of bed on Sunday and carefully
Relocate his center of gravity
Above and beyond an imaginary axis
Between his feet and carry the good news
Along the path and the sidewalk, well on his way
To readjusting the business of the earth.

by David Wagoner

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