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Signs

by Jesse Lichtenstein


     Why not leave small offerings
on rural routes for the mystics
at the D.O.T.
                               who in their cabalistic
wisdom make a sign
               mean less the more
of them you pass.

     There’s peril in
               the arrow, in its angle—up
and to the left.

     A man might come from
a strange country, to travel
in the night.
                               An animal
might publish its uncertainty
in the median.

     I want not to take literally
all indications, nor seek
secret shortcuts to
                                         a private drive.

     I am off the map.
A wayward vector, the metaphor
of S—as in here
                               go slow awhile,
or next 2 miles, soft
                                           shoulder.

 

Jesse Lichtenstein is a director of the Loggernaut Reading Series.  His prose and poetry appear or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, Boston Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal.  He lives in Oregon. (4/2005)


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