Well, it's election day in Massachusetts, but some things transcend the workings of government. Veins of purple loosestrife run in ditches along the back roads as the school year reopens, and last week I went to a UFO Festival nearby in Exeter, N.H. If I needed reasons to bring this poem on stage, those two are good enough. The river alluded to is the Merrimack. The poem is included in my book What Is the City?
What the River Brings
Among purple loosestrife spiking the river’s stone grill,
Marie and I made out a figure, gray, face up.
With chipped features and blank base, the cast
Suggested a park or church yard. Exposed
When the river retreated, this weight must have come
Tumbling, immersed in the spring crest, muddy surge
Frightening all on the banks. Days later,
We returned and found nothing. Flying saucer,
Hairy snowmen—bones that don’t connect,
Dreams in a tense not invented.