Wednesday, April 11, 2007


This is what it means, I think – remember
that drunken cab ride and what you said about the fiction
implicit in the neatness of any border, any boundary?
The pretence that Belgravia ends at the traffic light
where the map says Pimlico begins, as if
one street corner was obviously different
from the one opposite, or the change in postal codes
was a tectonic rift, something you could trip over
at the halfway point of the crosswalk, when instead we know
that neighborhoods unfold themselves more slowly
than a taxi meter could ever measure.
And then we found ourselves suddenly at Paddington,
unable to recall the names of the sad hotels we’d passed,
or how many corner shops, or pubs, and the park itself
had been just a blur of black fence posts,
each an uncounted gradation of our progress.

So it’s more than any trick your tongue does
within the word “Wednesday”, more
than any shortcut through “Baltimore” or even
“Toronto”. It’s how your memory folds an ending
back into its beginning, and makes every minor transition
you’ve gone through along the way seem both additive
and inevitable.

Or maybe it’s more like that time in Nice,
how each day the sky bled lilac
long past dinnertime and we could never quite say
what moment marked the end of the afternoon
and which was the first gatepost of the night.
And after our walk back to our humid hotel room
we were all unions and junctures,
and even the skin of our bellies clung to each other;
maybe that’s the meaning that gets skipped over
inside that one odd word.

Mark Aiello